VARICOSE VEINS & VENOUS INSUFFICIENCY: NOT JUST COSMETIC CONCERNS

Laser Vein Center staff with Dr. Thomas Wright

VENOUS INSUFFICIENCY AND the associated varicose veins are not just a cosmetic concern; they can result in physical symptoms. Signs of venous insufficiency include: varicose veins; leg swelling; skin changes, such as redness or a brownish staining and a whitish loss of skin pigment; and ulcers on the legs. Symptoms of venous insufficiency include: leg and pelvic pain or cramping; a feeling of throbbing, aching or heaviness in th elegs; leg fatigue; and restlessness.

Most insurance companies cover symptomatic venous disease, meaning patients don’t have to live with the discomfort associated with venous disorders. Laser Lipo & Vein Center in St. Louis accepts all major insurance coverage.

Making a Diagnosis
Correctly diagnosing vein disease involves a review of the patient’s history of symptoms, physical examination and a duplex ultrasound of the veins. The duplex ultrasound exam can help identify the presence of reflux and its location, as well as determine the patency of the deep and superficial venous systems. The leg is examined from the saphenofemoral junction down to the ankle.

The key to a successful ultrasound is that the patient is standing during the exam to accurately determine blood flow concerns. Venous insufficiency can be easily missed in the event that the ultrasound is performed while the patient is lying down.

“Often, when you send a patient for an ultrasound evaluation for venous disease, the technician mistakenly has the patient lie down. This occurs because many technicians are trained to look for deep vein disease; however, this positioning will result in an inadequate exam, and superficial venous insufficiency won’t be diagnosed,” says Dr. Wright. “It’s Important to send patients to a specialized vein center, as their sonographers are trained to detect venous insufficiency and can diagnose it with more accuracy.”

Once venous insufficiency has been correctly identified, a variety of conservative treatment methods may be utilized as an initial treatment approach. These may include elevating the legs when possible, avoiding long periods of sitting or standing, wearing compression stockings and being active. if these methods are not successful, a variety of surgical or procedural options may be recommended.