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
Look For A Doctor If Your daily life is difficult because of your leg pain.
It’s not necessarily indicative of vein problems just because you feel leg pain. Leg pain, particularly painful and throbbing pain, is a result of varicose veins. Additionally, the pain gets worse the more you go about your everyday business while suffering from varicose veins.
You need to make an appointment with a specialist to find out if your leg pain is due to damaged veins.
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.
What Are My Treatment Options For Venous Insufficiency
There are many treatments that can be used to treat this problem, here are some of them:
Endovenous thermal ablation might be more efficient for treating moderate to severe varicose veins. Endovenous ablation generates heat that is intended to obliterate the problematic veins using either laser energy or high-frequency radio waves.
A tiny fiber is put into the vein for laser therapy before heat is applied. Before applying heat, a small catheter is inserted into the troubled vein using high-frequency radio waves.
The vein finally closes due to the heat and is absorbed by the body. These methods can aid in reestablishing the veins’ regular blood flow.
The vein specialist might advise a microphlebectomy if your veins are too twisted or bulgy for endovenous ablation or sclerotherapy. The troublesome vein is removed during this surgery by the doctor using very small incisions.
Chemicals are injected into the afflicted veins during sclerotherapy to shut them and stop blood flow through them. The body diverts blood flow to healthier veins over time, causing the treated veins to become scar tissue and eventually disappear. To lessen swelling and aid in the healing of your legs between treatments, you might need to wear compression stockings or elastic bandages.
The compression method
Utilizing specialized clothing to apply external pressure to the leg in order to compress the valves closer together and improve their effectiveness is known as compression therapy. Gradual compression is applied and support is provided via compression socks and stockings.
Many designs of over-the-counter compression hose resemble conventional socks or hose and are sold at pharmacies and medical supply stores. Anyone with venous illness is advised to wear prescription-strength clothing. Based on your physical characteristics and venous condition, a certified professional can fit you for socks or hose.
Are there surgical procedures to address severe cases of venous insufficiency?
Yes, there are surgical procedures available to address severe cases of venous insufficiency. One common surgical procedure is called vein ligation and stripping. In this procedure, the surgeon makes small incisions and ties off or removes the affected veins to redirect blood flow to healthy veins. Another option is endovenous laser treatment (EVLT), where a laser fiber is inserted into the vein to close it off. Additionally, there is a minimally invasive procedure known as radiofrequency closure, which uses radiofrequency energy to seal the affected vein.
These surgical interventions are typically considered for severe cases of venous insufficiency that do not respond to conservative treatments like compression therapy or lifestyle changes. The choice of procedure depends on the specific condition and the recommendation of the healthcare provider or vascular surgeon after a thorough evaluation.
Can venous insufficiency be a symptom of an underlying health condition?
Venous insufficiency itself is not a symptom of an underlying health condition, but it can be associated with or exacerbated by certain factors or conditions. Here are some conditions and factors that can contribute to or worsen venous insufficiency:
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): Blood clots in the deep veins can cause damage to the veins, leading to venous insufficiency.
- Obesity: Excess body weight can put pressure on the veins, impairing their function and causing venous insufficiency.
- Pregnancy: Pregnant women may experience increased pressure on the pelvic veins, leading to venous insufficiency.
- Sedentary Lifestyle: Lack of physical activity can weaken leg muscles and impair blood circulation, contributing to venous insufficiency.
- Smoking: Smoking can negatively impact blood circulation, potentially worsening venous insufficiency.
Can venous insufficiency lead to blood clots or deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?
Yes, venous insufficiency can increase the risk of blood clots and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
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.