What is a venous ulcer?Venous ulcers are the most advanced stage of vein disease. A venous ulcer is a shallow wound on your leg that heals very slowly. It occurs when veins fail to return blood back to the heart properly. The blood pools and builds up pressure until a seemingly shallow injury becomes a slow healing open wound. Venous ulcers are common in patients who have a history of leg swelling, varicose veins, or a history of blood clots in either the superficial or the deep veins of the legs. Venous ulcers affect almost 500,000 to 600,000 people in the United States every year and account for 80-90 percent of all leg ulcers.
What are the symptoms?Venous ulcers are usually red in color and may be covered with yellow fibrous tissue. The venous ulcers have borders that are usually irregularly shaped. There may be a green or yellow discharge if the ulcer is infected. Fluid drainage can be significant.
Symptoms may include:
- Itchy or burning sensation
- A rash or dry skin
- Brownish discoloration
- A foul-smelling fluid oozing from the sore
If an ulcer becomes infected:
- A redness or swelling of the surrounding skin
- Worsening pain
- A fever
How are they treated?
Quick, effective outpatient visits treat the root cause, not just the symptoms.
DiagnosisWe treat vein issues using a stepwise approach. We start by identifying the problem with an ultrasound study of the legs. Once the bad veins are identified, we discuss the various treatment options and tell you which ones we think are the best for you.
TreatmentElevation of the affected area and use of compression bandages or stockings are often sufficient to treat venous ulcers. If they become infected, antibiotics will be prescribed to help fight off the bacteria. In extreme cases surgery might be necessary to improve the circulation in your legs.
The Vein Center of Arizona offers patients a wide variety of treatment options:
Comprehensive Treatment Plan
Developing a comprehensive treatment plan follows a thorough assessment. The assessment will normally consist of a review of your venous symptoms, a visual inspection of your problems and a thorough review of your history. The assessment completed by Dr. Paul Larson, supplemented by the diagnostic ultrasound if indicated by a registered vascular technologist will aid in the process.
Before seeking out a surgical or non-surgical treatment for varicose veins and other uncomfortable vein disorders, doctors may recommend conservative management techniques for patients. Conservative treatments may be required by an insurance company before other treatments can be considered.
Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
Radiofrequency ablation (or RFA) is a procedure used to reduce pain. An electrical current produced by a radio wave is used to heat up a small area of nerve tissue, thereby decreasing pain signals from that specific area.
Endovenous Laser Treatment
Endovenous Laser Treatment for the elimination of unhealthy varicose veins is the gold-standard for minimally invasive treatment of varicose veins. EVLT uses laser energy, which is a highly concentrated beam of light. They work by delivering this light energy to the tissue that is targeted with extreme precision, so as not to damage the surrounding tissue.
Sclerotherapy is the primary treatment for spider veins and small superficial varicose veins that usually appear on the legs. They less commonly appear on other parts of the body. Sclerotherapy involves the injection of a chemical solution into a targeted spider vein or a reticular vein through a very fine needle.
Foam sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive technique for men and women to eliminate unsightly varicose veins and spider veins. The procedure involves injecting a foam sclerosant in a blood vessel to close it. The blood reroutes itself through healthy veins, restoring more normal blood flow.
Also known as ambulatory phlebectomy, this is a procedure that can be performed in the office and is commonly performed at the time of endovenous ablation. The procedure is intended to remove larger bulging varicose veins near the skin surface.