The most severe stage of vein disease occurs when poor circulation from unhealthy veins causes sustained high pressure and low oxygen supply to the lower extremity tissues. This abnormal environment sets the stage for leg wounds known as leg ulcers.
Vein disease is the underlying source of the problem in 80% of patients with leg ulcers.
Unfortunately, vein disease is missed on most standard ultrasounds that are not performed by vein specialists. In fact, at least 94% of people with ulcers benefit from a second opinion. Treating underlying vein disease not only helps to heal venous leg ulcers, but also significantly lowers the risk for ulcer recurrence as compared to ulcer treatment by wound care alone.
What Causes Leg Ulcers?
When your 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. Left untreated and over time, ulcers may 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:
- Leg swelling
- Skin discoloration
- Infection at wound site
What Do Leg Ulcers Look Like?
What are Treatment Options for Leg Ulcers?
Our practice is highly experienced in combating this stage of venous reflux with the most progressive treatments available. Once a patient comes to us, the first line of treatment – local wound care – 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 reduce pressure in the tissues. Then, a diagnostic ultrasound is performed to pinpoint the blood vessels that are not working properly. In many cases, we perform radiofrequency ablation (RFA) 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 prevent 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.