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Venous Insufficiency

 

Normal vs Varicose - Vein AnatomyVenous insufficiency occurs when the leg veins do not allow blood to travel back to the heart from the lower extremities. (Arteries carry blood away from the heart, while veins carry blood to the heart). Problems with valves in the veins can cause the blood to flow in both directions, not just toward the heart. Valves that are not working properly can cause blood in the legs to pool and if left untreated, pain, swelling, and leg ulcers may result.

Causes

Venous insufficiency is more common among people who are obese, pregnant, or who have a family history of the problem. Individuals who have had trauma to the leg through injury, surgery, or previous blood clots are also more likely to develop the condition. Other causes include the following:

  • High blood pressure in the leg veins over a long period of time
  • Sitting or standing for prolonged periods
  • Lack of exercise
  • Smoking
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Phlebitis (swelling and inflammation of a superficial vein, usually in the legs)

Symptoms

  • Swelling in legs and/or ankles
  • Tight feeling calves or itchy painful legs
  • Pain during walking that stops with rest
  • Brown-colored skin, particularly near the ankles
  • Varicose veins
  • Leg ulcers that are sometimes very resistant to treatment

Diagnosis

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for venous insufficiency may include:

  • Duplex Ultrasound: A type of vascular ultrasound procedure to assess blood flow and the structure of leg veins. The term “duplex” refers to the fact that two modes of ultrasound are used — Doppler and B-mode. The B-mode transducer (like a microphone) obtains an image of the vessel being studied. The Doppler probe within the transducer evaluates the velocity and direction of blood flow in the vessel.
  • Venogram: Uses X-rays and intravenous (IV) contrast dye to visualize the veins. Contrast dye causes blood vessels to appear opaque on the X-ray image, allowing Dr. Tilara to visualize the blood vessels being evaluated.

Treatment

A specific treatment plan will be created based on a variety of health related criteria including:

  • Age
  • Overall health/medical history
  • Extent of the disease
  • Tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • Signs and symptoms
  • Expected disease progression
  • Patient’s personal opinion or preference

Venous insufficiency treatment may include lifestyle changes, physical therapy, medication, or surgical procedures.

  • Elevate the legs to reduce pressure in leg veins
  • Keep legs uncrossed when sitting
  • Regular exercise
  • Compression stockings to help blood flow
  • Medication
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Ligation
  • Surgical repair
  • Vein transplant

Atlanta Vascular and Vein Center is located in Lawrenceville, GA servicing patients living in Metro Atlanta, Gwinnett County and the surrounding communities including Duluth, Dacula, and Grayson. Call 678/878-4555 today to schedule an appointment today.