Do you suffered in silence with unexplained pain in your left side, or swelling, fatigue and heaviness in your lower abdomen and legs? Maybe you discussed your symptoms with your doctor and were told that it was nothing. You may have ‘hidden vein disease’ caused by ‘compression’ or pressure on one or more deep veins in your abdomen and pelvis.
At VSS we offer hope and are here to guide you to Better Veins for Life® even if you have ‘hidden vein disease.’ We want to be your vein specialists for the diagnosis and treatment of venous compression disease.
Yes, you should be concerned. When your veins are not working well, it can affect your health and quality of life. The abdominal and pelvic veins most often affected by compression are the iliac vein that drains your left leg (May-Thurner Syndrome) and the vein that drains the left kidney (Nutcracker Syndrome). Pelvic congestion disease is another condition that mostly occurs as an isolated problem, but on occasion can be associated with these vein compression syndromes.
Slight compression on the vein increases pressure in the veins at and below the area of compression. This pressure can cause reversal of the venous blood flow (reflux). Veins in the area become varicose in response to the reflux. Though ‘hidden’ these deep varicose veins cause symptoms of heaviness, aching, pain and swelling, affecting your quality of life.
Compression and pulsation by the artery can trap the left iliac vein scarring it. Early diagnosis and treatment of the compression may prevent further damage to the vein and lower your risk of a blood clot. Left untreated, an acute DVT with sudden swelling and pain in the thigh and leg may be the first sign you have a problem. This event can be limb and life-threatening, and requires emergency care for diagnosis and treatment to lower the short and long-term complications of the DVT.
*Individual Results May Vary
Your VSS clinical team is trained in the diagnosis pelvic, iliac, and renal vein compression and acute/chronic DVT. The pathway to diagnosis is based on the timing of the presentation of your symptoms.
Chronic symptoms of venous compression include heaviness, aching and swelling in the lower abdomen and legs. If there is a pelvic vein disease component to your problem, your symptoms may be worse at the time of menses or intimacy.
With chronic symptoms, your diagnosis starts with a vein evaluation, history, physical exam and venous ultrasound of the thigh and leg. An (transabdominal) ultrasound (US) of the pelvic and abdominal veins is scheduled if your vein evaluation suggests the possibility of iliac vein, left renal vein compression or pelvic vein disease.
A positive (or inconclusive) vein evaluation and transabdominal US leads to tests to evaluate the directional flow in the deep veins of the abdomen and pelvis. It also identifies areas of compression, scarring of the veins, evidence of acute or chronic blood clots and varicose veins in the abdomen and pelvis. These may include CT / MRI scans, an out-patient venogram, and intravascular ultrasound studies (IVUS).
Acute symptoms of leg swelling and pain may signal a significant DVT. Emergency ultrasound (US) to evaluate the deep veins of the pelvis and legs should be ordered when these acute symptoms are reported. If an acute DVT is found in the iliac and the femoral vein which drains the affected leg, this could become a life or limb threatening condition requiring hospitalization.
In-patient emergency testing and treatment for an acute DVT, with limb or life-threatening symptoms, includes a venogram with an intent to treat the clot in the iliac and femoral vein with clot busting medications. Once the clot is dissolved, IVUS can identify narrowing or scarring of the iliac vein, which can be treated with minimally invasive balloon dilation and possible stenting of the scarred vein.
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The important thing to understand is that there is hope. Hope to diagnose the underlying source of your chronic symptoms. Hope that you can enjoy Better Veins for Life®. We are here to listen to your concerns and develop a comprehensive vein treatment plan for you!
Learn more about treatment of iliac vein compression, renal vein compression, and pelvic congestion disease here.
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Since 1997 Vein Specialists of the South has helped thousands of patients like you with varicose veins, spider veins, and leg swelling. Dr. Kenneth Harper a leader in vein health is a Diplomat of the American Board of Surgery and the American Vein and Lymphatic Medicine. Terri Harper, MSN, FNP-C, is a leader in the field of cosmetic spider vein education. Our dedicated nurse injectors have been trained by the best.
At VSS we have a passion for veins big and small. Serving more than 20,000 patients, Vein Specialists of the South is committed to bringing you Better Veins for Life®. Call today to schedule an appointment with the VSS team, ‘where veins are not just one thing we do, they are the only thing we do.’
*Individual Results May Vary
“It’s not just one thing we do, it’s the only thing we do.”