Until recently, patients suffering from venous ulcers were told to wear compression stockings and elevate their legs whenever possible. Now, recent advances in minimally invasive laser vein treatment offer long lasting treatment without the need for endless wraps, lotions, or Unna boots.
Venous ulcers are wounds or open sores on the lower extremities, which are very slow to heal and often reoccur. They affect over 500,000 people in the United States and account for 80-90% of all leg ulcers. They are most commonly associated with venous insufficiency, or may be a complication of blood clots, known as post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS). The patient may suffer from pain, swelling or even infection, as well as the obvious visual disfigurement.
Venous ulcers can be diagnosed in my Kansas City vein clinic with a history and physical exam, along with a duplex ultrasound Doppler study, and can easily be identified from other causes of ulcers, including arterial (ischemic ulcers) or neurotrophic (diabetic) ulcers. Since there is usually abnormal blood flow (known as reflux) found in the veins of patients suffering from venous ulcers, the Color Flow Duplex ultrasound can accurately identify the sites of reflux in the majority of patients.
In-office, minimally invasive endovenous laser ablation can then be used to close the diseased vein, resulting in more rapid healing of the venous ulcer, and a very low chance for recurrence of the ulcer, as compared to using compression stockings or medicated wraps as the stand-alone treatment.
However, keeping the ulcers closed permanently requires regular follow-up and care as years go by. Compression stockings will be an added benefit in healing the ulcer and preventing recurrence. Patients with a history of ulcers should be in, at minimum, knee-high compression stockings for life.
Call 913-451-VEIN to schedule your free vein screening with Vein Centers for Excellence of Kansas City.
Dr. Craig Schwartz