The most severe stage of venous reflux disease occurs when white blood cells malfunction due to sustained high pressure and low oxygen caused by inadequate blood flow. This imbalance weakens the white blood cells ability to fight off infection, which leads to a build-up of toxins in the tissue. The result: ulcer formation, most commonly near the ankle.
Leg wounds, or ulcers, are most often caused by vein disease and can be missed on standard ultrasounds. In fact, 98% of people with ulcers benefit from a second opinion. Treating underlying vein disease not only heals venous leg ulcers, but also significantly decreases ulcer recurrence as compared to ulcer treatment by wound care alone.
What Causes Leg Ulcers?
Venous reflux disease is the source of the problem in most ulcer patients. When veins become stretched and dilated, the valves that control blood flow from the legs back towards the heart are not able to open and shut properly, causing blood to flow backwards. Pressure builds within the vein wall and blood begins to pool in the superficial veins, leading to the formation of spider and varicose veins. Left untreated and over time, infection and toxins build and ulcers form.
What are Symptoms of Venous Ulcers?
People with venous ulcers can experience one or many of the common signs and symptoms of vein disease:
Infection at wound site
What are Treatment Options for Leg Ulcers?
Our practice is highly experienced in combating this most progressive stage of venous reflux with the most progressive treatments available. Once a patient comes to us, the first line of treatment – use of topical creams – has usually been tried with no significant improvement. It is important to not just treat the symptom, but deal with the source of the problem.
The first course of action is compression to relieve built up pressure. Then, a diagnostic ultrasound is performed to pinpoint the blood vessels that are not working properly. In most cases, we perform RFA (VNUS Closure) to close the diseased veins and re-direct blood flow through healthier veins. Fresh, oxygenated blood provides the essential nutrients necessary to heal the ulcers. Associated skin discoloration improves gradually over time. Closing the veins prevents further discoloration and development of new ulcers.
If you have or suspect you are developing a leg ulcer, call today to schedule your consultation with the vein specialists at Hamilton Vein Center. We treat patients at every stage of vein disease. At Hamilton Vein, we are dedicated to our patients and the diagnosis and treatment of vein disease with offices in Houston including Sugar Land, Bellaire, Kingwood, Katy, Clear Lake, The Woodlands, Lake Jackson, and Willowbrook. In Austin, we are located in Round Rock and South Austin.