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Venous Insufficiency

Venous insufficiency is a condition where veins cannot adequately transfer blood from the legs back up to the heart. Inside the veins are valves that operate like flaps, directing the flow of blood toward the heart. When the valves become damaged, circulatory problems develop ranging from spider veins to varicose veins, and blood clots to skin ulcers.

Risk factor

  • Varicose veins
  • Blood clots
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Cancer
  • Muscle weakness
  • Injury/trauma
  • Swelling
  • Inactivity

Symptoms of Venous Insufficiency

Common symptoms of venous insufficiency aching or throbbing in the legs include swelling and discomfort, skin discoloration, skin thickening, spider veins at the ankles, and leg ulcers.

How is Venous Insufficiency Diagnosed?

Diagnostic ultrasound measuring the vein diameter and the amount of pooling (reflux) and venograms (X-ray exam with contrast dye) may be used to examine the veins for signs of disease.

Treatment for Venous Insufficiency

  • Conservative treatment
    • Compression stockings
    • Exercise
    • Weight loss
    • Elevating your legs
    • Not standing or sitting for long periods of time

Surgical interventions

  • Sclerotherapy – liquid chemical injected to shut down the incompetent varicose vein
  • RF ablation – A slight incision is made near varicose vein where a small tube called a catheter is threaded into the vein and heat is applied via radio waves to close off the vein.
  • Phlebectomy – A small incision is made and the varicose veins are removed.