Venous Stasis Ulcers

Typical venous stasis ulcer at the ankle

 

Venous stasis ulcers occur on the lower legs and ankles. They appear because elevated pressures within the veins, due to reflux (backflow) is transmitted to the skin, causing damage, fragility and eventual breakdown.  Varicose veins are a manifestation of the same reflux in veins under the skin.

The low level chronic inflammation of the subcutaneous tissues, in response to the elevated venous pressures, leads to breakdown of the normal tissue integrity with eventual ulceration in many patients.

Simple treatment of varicose veins and venous reflux can essentially eliminate the risk of developing venous ulcers as blood flow in the leg normalizes. This is done primarily by ablating incompetent saphenous veins with VNUS Closure, or removing surface veins with microphlebetomy. Both of these office based procedures are very effective at restoring your normal venous flow.

Once a venous stasis ulcer develops, we generally refer patients to the local wound care center for intensive wound management nurse or therapist trained specifically in wounds. We will evaluate our patients with venous duplex scans to assess the vein flow and the areas of reflux needing treatment. The vein treatment is often done while the ulcer is in its healing phase so we can speed the rate of healing and reduce the risk of recurrence.

We strongly advise patients with varicose veins, especially those who notice darkening of the ankle skin, to seek early evaluation so we can reduce the risk of venous stasis ulcer formation.

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