What causes venous ulcers? A top vascular surgeon shares some insight.

Jun 9, 2019

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Spider and Varicose Vein Treatment Center

Venous ulcers are painful skin ulcers that can occur in 1% of all American women past middle age. If you fit into this category, you may want to know if you are likely to get them. Read on to know what causes them – and whether you are at risk of developing venous ulcers.

So what causes venous ulcers?

Any ulcer occurs when skin breaks down easily, and cannot heal properly. In the case of venous ulcers, this usually happens if you have long standing vein disease in your legs, called chronic venous insufficiency.

Your leg veins are supposed to carry impure blood back to your heart, against gravity. This is helped by tiny valves that are present at the top of your leg veins. These prevent the blood from falling back into the legs once it goes up. When you have vein disease, however, these valves become defective. This causes the impure blood pooling in your legs.  Over time, the excess blood increases the pressure in your leg veins, and leaks into the surrounding tissue, including the skin. The fluid buildup prevents the tissues form getting proper nutrients and oxygen.

The high pressure, coupled with lack of nutritional support makes the tissues extremely fragile. So, even you get a small injury or scratch, the skin immediately breaks down and forms a leg ulcer.

Combined with vein disease, your risk of venous ulcers increases if you smoke, are overweight, or have a history of blood clots (your vein doctor would call this deep vein thrombosis). Having had a previous leg injury also increases your chances of developing a venous ulcer. Patients who have recently had hip or knee surgery are also at risk of developing ulcers.

 

How do you know if that painful sore on legs (or thigh ulcer) is a venous ulcer?

Venous ulcers have certain characteristics that can help distinguish it from other skin conditions:

  • Earlier signs: Before the ulcer actually developed, you may have noticed changes in the color of the ski in that region, to dark red or purple. A dry, itchy feeling also precedes venous ulcer formation.
  • Symptoms specific to vein disease: These include throbbing and aching legs, swollen ankles, heaviness of the limbs, and general tiredness and fatigue. You may also notice that your veins tend to bulge out. These bulging veins are varicose veins – which is why this ulcer is also called varicose ulcer.
  • Appearance: The venous ulcer is shallow, and has a red base. There may be some yellowish slough within the ulcer, which is basically dead tissue. The skin around the ulcer appears tight and shiny.
  • Fluid discharge: You may see a foul-smelling fluid oozing from the base of the ulcer.

If you have these symptoms, it is important to see a vein specialist right away. A vein doctor will perform an imaging study of the veins in your lower legs, called a duplex ultrasound. This will analyze the location and extent of venous insufficiency, and will help the doctor guide you to the correct modes of treatment for this condition.

Evaluation and management of lower extremity ulcers

If you develop a venous ulcer, seek medical advice immediately, to avoid further serious consequences. The vein doctor will evaluate your history for lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and obesity. You will also need a complete physical examination and certain tests to evaluate the type and degree of vein disease.

There are two steps in treatment. The first is managing the ulcer itself, and the second step is preventing future ulcers from occurring. To stimulate healing of the ulcer, your doctor may need to perform a small procedure called ‘debridement’. This involves cutting away dead tissue, and cleaning the ulcer to prevent it from getting infected. The ulcer will need to be dressed, and compression bandages will be placed over the dressing, covering the entire leg. A compression bandage reduces the pressure in the leg veins and improves blood circulation. The compression bandage and dressings should be changed once a week, until the ulcer heals. At first, the dressings may be painful, and your doctor will prescribe painkillers to deal with this. If your ulcer is infected, you may receive a course of antibiotics.

To help the ulcer heal faster, you may be asked to keep your legs elevated. Active exercise, such as walking, will also improve blood flow and healing.

To prevent future ulcers, you need to treat the underlying condition – chronic venous insufficiency. The only way to do this is to actually remove the diseased vein from the body. Once the defective vein is gone, blood re-routes to healthier veins, and circulation improves, relieving pressure from the legs. Removing the vein, however, does not necessarily mean a surgical procedure. Modern vein clinics offer advanced methods of treatment that are comfortable and minimally invasive. These procedures seal off the vein so that blood can no longer flow through it. The defective vein eventually gets digested by the body.

The Vein Treatment Clinic has an expert team of board certified vein specialists, who offer comprehensive care for venous ulcers. To learn more about this, our cutting edge techniques to deal with vein disease, call 855-386-0195, or book an appointment online.

Meet our certified diplomate team

Dr. Namrata Khimani

Venous specialist | TRIPLE CERTIFIED

Dr. Khimani is a nationally recognized leader in the field of venous medicine. She is an expert in Spider Vein and Varicose Vein Treatment based in New York City. While Dr. Khimani treats a variety of patients experiencing varicose vein problems, she also sub-specializes in the treatment of vein disease in women, including those with pregnancy and post-pregnancy related spider and varicose veins.

If you have varicose veins and spider veins, suffer from leg cramps, leg swelling, or restless leg syndrome, come see Dr. Khimani at our Vein Treatment Center NYC. Most procedures are covered by major medical insurances, including Medicare. Call us and get verified today.

Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Michael Nguyen

VENOUS SPECIALIST | TRIPLE CERTIFIED
Dr. Michael Nguyen is a world renowned and Harvard trained vein specialist in Manhattan. He leads the team of vein doctors offering the highest level of care at the Spider and Varicose Vein Treatment Center in New York & New Jersey.

As a pioneer in the treatment of varicose veins problems, Dr. Nguyen is considered a top vein expert for developing minimally invasive and customized treatment plans for the many symptoms of venous insufficiency, including leg cramps, skin discoloration on legs, spider vein removal, and restless leg syndrome.

Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Caroline Novak

Venous Specialist | Double Certified
Dr. Caroline Novak is a double Board Certified vein specialist in Paramus and Clifton, NJ. Dr. Novak is well known for continuously performing the best treatment for spider veins and varicose vein removal in the New Jersey area. She is committed to developing long lasting relationships with her patients, allowing her to personalize a varicose and spider veins treatment plan that successfully meets her patients' goals.

At her Clifton and Paramus vein clinic, Dr. Novak utilizes the latest and most advanced technology to restore patients back to health without unnecessary surgery, and with minimal to no downtime.

Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Simon Smith

VENOUS SPECIALIST | DIPLOMAT-CERTIFIED
Dr. Simon Smith is a Board Certified Cardiovascular and Vein Disease Specialist currently serving patients at the Vein Treatment Clinic in Clifton and Wayne, New Jersey.

Dr. Smith is sought after because of his unparalleled skills in RF Ablation, sclerotherapy, and the treatment of skin discoloration on legs. By utilizing advanced vein treatment techniques, Dr. Simon is able to customize a plan specific to each patient, helping them avoid complicated surgeries and unnecessary downtime. With Dr. Simon minimally invasive procedures, patients are able to return to normal activities right after.

Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Faisal Siddiqi

VENOUS SPECIALIST | DOUBLE CERTIFIED
Dr. Faisal Siddiqi oversees all Vein Treatment Centers in New Jersey – ensuring that each patient receives the highest level of care possible for their vein disease. Having received training from Yale Medical School, Dr. Siddiqi proudly offers the latest technology available for spider and varicose vein treatments at his office in Wayne, NJ and Clifton, NJ.

Dr. Siddiqi's work with minimally invasive techniques was recognized by his peers in Castle Connolly’s Top Doctors for 2017 and he was also voted as one of the Top Vein Doctors in New Jersey.

Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Juan Montoya

VASCULAR SPECIALIST | NYC VEIN SPECIALIST
Dr. Montoya is a Vein Specialist and Vascular doctor in New York. He is highly sought after for his expertise and excellent outcomes in cardiac surgery, and is now proud to serve the Vein Clinics in Manhattan, NY.

Dr. Montoya performs the latest minimally-invasive vein treatments to treat Chronic Venous Insufficiency; a condition that leads to spider veins and varicose veins, along with symptoms such as leg cramping, pain, and fatigue.

Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Carly Guthrie

VENOUS SPECIALIST | DOUBLE CERTIFIED
Dr. Carly Guthrie is the co-director of the Spider and Varicose Vein Treatment Clinic in San Diego. Dr. Guthrie is a double Board-Certified vein specialist, and is regarded as one of the top interventional ultrasonographers in the country. In her years of training and on staff at Harvard, she worked with the top venous specialists in the world, attending some of the most complex cases. Her areas of expertise include radiofrequency ablation using ultrasound guidance, sclerotherapy, phlebectomy, and the newly approved VenaSeal technique for treatment of venous insufficiency and varicose veins.

Dr. Guthrie is focused on bringing the newest and most-advanced treatments to Southern California in order to decrease recovery times and improve patient satisfaction.

Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Billy Schoenfeld

VENOUS SPECIALIST | DOUBLE CERTIFIED
Dr. Schoenfeld has advanced training in ultrasound and venous access, having treated thousands of patients in his career. He is a specialist in the treatment of venous insufficiency and varicose veins, including ultrasound guided radiofrequency ablation, sclerotherapy, and phlebectomy.

Dr. Schoenfeld is focused on introducing new therapies to San Diego, such as the recently FDA-approved VenaSeal procedure for treatment of varicose veins. During his training at Harvard he worked with the best doctors in venous medicine and is now devoted to bringing those state-of-the-art technologies and treatments to Southern California.

Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Calvin Jung

VEIN SPECIALIST | DOUBLE CERTIFIED
Dr. Calvin Jung is a double Board Certified Venous Specialist, serving as director and clinical trainer for
the Vein Treatment Centers in Houston, Texas. Dr. Jung specializes in minimally invasive techniques for spider veins and varicose vein removal, completely avoiding the need for surgical procedures or any unnecessary downtime. Dr. Jung's focus is on restoring patients back to health so that they can enjoy the activities they love most.

Vein treatments at our Texas spider vein clinic are often covered by major medical insurances, including Medicare. Call us today to verify yours!

Namrata
Khimani MD

Triple Certified
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Namrata Khimani is a nationally recognized leader in the field of venous medicine. She is an expert in Spider Vein and Varicose Vein Treatment based in New York City. If you have varicose veins or lower extremity pain, come see Dr. Khimani at our Vein Treatment Center New York.
Read more >>

Michael
Nguyen MD

Triple Certified
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Michael Nguyen is a world renowned and Harvard trained vein specialist, leading the Spider and Varicose Vein Treatment Center in New York. Dr. Nguyen has been a pioneer in the treatment of varicose veins problems, as well as the many signs of venous insufficiency, including: leg cramps, painful varicose veins, leg swelling, restless leg, and skin discoloration on legs.
Read more >>

Caroline
Novak MD

Double Certified
Northwestern University
Dr. Caroline Novak is a double Certified spider vein specialist in Paramus & Clifton NJ. She is well known for performing the best treatment for spider veins and varicose vein removal in the New Jersey area.
Read more >>

Simon
Smith MD

DIPLOMAT- CERTIFIED
DREXEL COLLEGE OF MEDICINE
Dr. Simon Smith is the best varicose vein doctor in Wayne, NJ. He is sought after because of his unparalleled skills in RF Ablation, sclerotherapy, and the treatment of skin discoloration on legs.
Read more >>

Faisal
Siddiqi MD

DOUBLE CERTIFIED
YALE MEDICAL SCHOOL
Dr. Faisal Siddiqi is the medical director for the Spider & Varicose Vein Treatment Center in New Jersey. Because of his level of expertise in the treatment of spider veins and varicose veins, Dr. Siddiqi is part of the select group of NJ Top Doctors, and he sees patients regularly at the Vein Treatment Center in Wayne and Clifton NJ.
Read more >>

Juan
Montoya MD

NYC VEIN SPECIALIST
YALE MEDICAL SCHOOL
Dr. Montoya is a Vein Specialist and Vascular doctor in Manhattan. He is considered one of the best spider vein doctors in Manhattan, having successfully restored thousands of patients back to health, by implementing cutting edge treatments such as radiofrequency ablation, VenaSeal, and sclerotherapy for spider veins.
Read more >>

Carly
Guthrie MD

Double Certified
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Guthrie is the co-director of the Spider and Varicose Vein Treatment Clinic in San Diego. She is recognized as one of the best varicose vein doctors in SD, and has developed a career specializing in minimally invasive varicose vein treatment options.
Read more >>

Billy
Schoenfeld MD

Double Certified
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Schoenfeld is a specialist in the treatment of venous insufficiency and varicose veins, including ultrasound guided radiofrequency ablation, sclerotherapy, and phlebectomy for spider vein removal. He also has advanced training in ultrasound and venous access, having treated thousands of patients at the Vein Treatment Center in San Diego, CA.
Read more >>

Calvin
Jung MD

DOUBE CERTIFIED
NYU MEDICAL SCHOOL
Dr Calvin Jung is the director and clinical trainer for the Vein Clinics of Houston, Texas. Dr. Jung specializes in minimally invasive treatments for spider vein and varicose vein removal. Most vein treatments are covered by major medical insurances, including Medicare.
Read more >>
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What causes venous ulcers? A top vascular surgeon shares some insight. ultima modifica: 2019-06-10T00:16:26-04:00 da VA
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