The Vein Treatment Center ©
Dr. Luis Navarro, MD, FACS
327 East 65th Street
New York, NY 10065
The Vein Treatment Center ©
Skin sores can be incredibly painful. Venous ulcers are a type of skin ulcer that develops mostly on the legs. Venous ulcers develop when your leg veins don’t function adequately, i.e., pushing blood back to the heart normally. Due to weak circulation, blood begins to pool in the veins, thereby forming an open sore in the affected limb.
Venous ulcers, also known as venous leg ulcers, usually take a long time to heal. The open sores may last from a few weeks to years. Most venous ulcers develop on the leg above the ankle. They may lead to serious skin problems if not timely treated.
When blood is collected in the lower leg veins, it causes blood cells and fluid to leak out into the skin. The fluid can cause itchiness and skin thinness, which eventually leads to changes in the skin, called stasis dermatitis.
Some other signs of a venous ulcer include:
If you don’t take care of the venous ulcer, it may become infected. In that case, you are likely to develop the following symptoms:
The main cause of venous ulcers is the increased pressure on the veins of your lower leg, usually above the ankle. The leg veins have one-way valves that ensure blood flow in an upward direction.
However, when the valves become weak or veins get clogged, blood starts flowing backward, thereby accumulating in the legs. This is called venous insufficiency, which exerts high-pressure on the leg veins.
Due to the increased pressure and fluid build-up, supply of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues is affected. When cells don’t get enough nutrients, they begin to die, damage the tissues and lead to wound formation.
Venous ulcers are not very common and affect only 1% of Americans. Of all age groups, older people, especially women, are more susceptible to develop venous ulcers.
Venous ulcers are hereditary; your vulnerability increases when someone in your family has had venous leg ulcers. Besides genes, age, and gender, other factors that increase your risk of having venous ulcer include:
If the wound does not heal with time or gets infected, you must visit a doctor –preferably a specialist. Essentially, the doctor will quickly examine the sore and the surrounding skin to check whether the problem is a venous skin ulcer.
The doctor may also take your brief medical account, especially if you are living with a chronic condition, such as heart diseases or diabetes. In some cases, the doctor may conduct some screening tests, such as a CT scan or X-rays, for a detailed examination.
It is important to get an ulcer treated because it can lead to serious skin and bone infections. In severe cases (though rare), an ulcer may develop into skin cancer. Even if the ulcer is at the primary stage, treatment is crucial to alleviate pain, stop the wound from getting bigger, and prevent infection.
Follow the instructions of the doctor to take care of the wound. Some of the ways include:
If the ulcer gets infected, the doctor may prescribe some antibiotics to prevent further complications. Your doctor may also prescribe a topical medication, such as an ointment, for the ulcer.
You may also need to wear compression stockings or bandages over the dressing. Compression stockings help reduce the swelling and close the wound. It also helps improve blood circulation, thereby strengthening your immune system to heal the wound.
If the venous ulcer has occurred due to varicose veins, your doctor may recommend a minimally invasive surgery to improve the blood flow and heal the ulcer.
Sclerotherapy – the doctor injects a chemical solution in the varicose vein. It causes the veins to irritate and stick together, thereby preventing the blood from flowing downward.
Phlebectomy – the doctor makes small incisions near the varicose vein and then remove it through small punctures.
Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy – the procedure is performed under anesthesia. During EVLT, the doctor cuts the damaged vein and then inserts a laser fiber. When the heat is directed at the vein, it gets destroyed.
If you find the symptoms of a venous ulcer or related conditions, such as varicose veins, consult a vascular surgeon. The Vein Treatment Center provides the best medical facilities for leg ulcers, including EVLT and Painless Sclerotherapy®. Contact us today and schedule an appointment with the best vascular surgeons in NYC.
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