In most cases, venous ulcers are a preventable and painful late complication of vein disease that directly affects your quality of life and ability to perform normal daily activities. The economic impact of wound care and missed time from work is estimated to be over $1 billion annually in the United States. Much of this personal and national impact can be avoided by early intervention.
Most people with venous stasis ulcers have a history of:
- Blood clots or deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Perforator vein disease
- Pooling of blood in the deep vein and/or superficial vein of the legs
- Visible varicose veins on their legs
- Or a combination of the above
If left untreated, skin changes in the lower legs include:
- Dry skin
- Itchy skin
- Thickening of the skin
With good wound care and the use of compression, most ulcers will heal. Unfortunately, the ulcer recurrence rate is about 60% within a year of healing if the underlying venous problem is not corrected. That is why we advocate for all patients with a venous ulcer to be seen and treated by a vein specialist.
What Causes Venous Ulcers?
Venous ulcers develop as reflux allows venous blood to pool in your leg. This reflux may be the result of saphenous vein, perforator vein, or non-saphenous vein reflux. As fluid leaks out of the dilated veins into the surrounding tissues, swelling interferes with the movement of oxygen and nutrients into these tissues and the removal of waste products. This results in inflammation, tissue damage, and venous ulcer formation.
Call Vein Specialists at 478-216-4646 to learn how we can treat your venous ulcers!
Venous Ulcer Treatment Options
In most cases of venous ulcers, there is truncal reflux or reversal of venous flow in the saphenous veins with or without deep vein disease or incompetent perforator veins. Unless there is complete deep vein obstruction, correction of the saphenous vein or truncal reflux is the first step after wound care to heal the ulcer. The bulging varicose veins may be treated with ambulatory phlebectomy or sclerotherapy for varicose veins.
The key to successful treatment of venous ulcers is a duplex ultrasound mapping study to identify the underlying problem. Once a map is created, Dr. Kenneth Harper uses the most effective methods to treat the underlying venous reflux including:
Evaluation & Treatment of Deep Venous Disease:
Vein specialists use compression, deep vein diagnostic studies (such as a CT scan, MRI, venogram, or an intravascular ultrasound), and deep vein interventions (such as thrombolysis, balloon angioplasty, or stents) to evaluate and treat this disease.
Correction of Underlying Reflux in the Saphenous Vein:
Eliminating saphenous reflux results in healing of many patients with venous ulcers. This is done by endovenous therapy (closure).
Eliminating Incompetent Perforators:
If these perforators do not correct themselves with treatment of the saphenous reflux and varicose veins, they should be treated to promote ulcer healing and prevent recurrence. This is done through the ligation of perforator veins or ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy.
Schedule a Consultation
Vein Specialists of the South offers the best treatments available for venous ulcers. Dr. Harper has evaluated more than 22,000 patients since 2000. He and the Vein Specialists team are dedicated to providing innovative, minimally invasive, non-surgical, office-based procedures designed to give you BetterLooking® legs and Better Veins for Life®.
Contact us to schedule a consultation and discover which venous ulcer treatment is right for you.