What is Venous Insufficiency?
Venous insufficiency is a chronic condition that affects the blood flow in your lower extremities. Individuals who suffer from this debilitating condition complain of swelling and pain in legs. In healthy veins, the valves keep your blood moving the correct direction as it returns to the heart. However, when these valves do not function properly, blood will begin to pool in the legs. In more serious cases, venous insufficiency can lead to spider veins, varicose veins and leg ulcers.
Symptoms Of Venous Insufficiency
The following are signs and symptoms of venous insufficiency:
• Leg or ankle swelling is a common ailment (edema)
• Pain that worsens as you get up and improves when you lift your legs
• cramping in the legs
• Legs that are aching, throbbing, or feel heavy
• Legs that itch
• legs that are shaky
• the skin on your legs or ankles thickens
• Skin that is discoloring, particularly around the ankles
• Ulcers on the legs
• Varicose veins are a type of vein that runs through the body.
• a tightening sensation in your calves
What Causes Venous Insufficiency?
Blood clots or varicose veins are the most common causes of venous insufficiency.
Blood flows continuously from the limbs back toward the heart in healthy veins. Blood backflow is prevented by valves in the veins of the legs.
Previous blood clots and varicose veins are the most common causes of venous insufficiency.
When blood flow through the veins is impeded, such as by a blood clot, blood accumulates below the clot, causing venous insufficiency.
The valves of varicose veins are frequently absent or damaged, allowing blood to seep back through the damaged valves.
In other cases, venous insufficiency is caused by weakening in the leg muscles that squeeze blood forward.
Most major medical insurance companies will cover the cost of minimally invasive vein procedures like RF ablation. With this being said, it’s necessary to establish medical necessity before proceeding with surgery. This is done largely via physical examination and an ultrasound exam. Doppler ultrasound studies are concrete proof that a patient has vein disease that’s significant enough to treat. This makes them an indispensable part of establishing the case for medical necessity.
Risk of not Treating Venous Insufficiency
The most severe result of CVI is a clotting phenomenon known as a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). This is more commonly referred to as a “blood clot.” As blood flows down the leg it can clot and become attached to the vein wall. This by itself isn’t necessarily threatening. If, however, this clot breaks away from the wall it can become lodged almost anywhere in the body. When this happens in the lungs it’s known as a pulmonary embolism (PE). This is a medical emergency, and if left untreated could result in death in a worst-case scenario
Before leaving the office each patient schedules a follow-up visit to take place approximately 7 days later. Note that even if you feel fine (which most patients do) it’s still important to keep this appointment. One of the primary reasons is to rule out Deep Vein Thrombi, the rare but dangerous blood clots mentioned above. This can be easily done in under 20 minutes using the same Doppler ultrasound used to map the treated vein.
Nearly all patients experience some level of temporary swelling, bruising, and discomfort after treatment. In almost all cases this is easily managed using Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). Among these are common over the counter pain relievers such as Motrin (ibuprofen) and Aleve (Naproxen).
It’s also important to mention that temporary numbness is a relatively common side effect of RF ablation. In all but the rarest cases full sensation returns within days.
Yet while these complications are technically possible the actual number of incidences is nearly zero. Among vascular surgeons and other vein specialists Radiofrequency ablation is generally regarded as a highly safe and effective.