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03.22.18 Dr. Garth Rosenberg Varicose Veins

Avoid Discoloration of Your Legs Due to Varicose Veins

Varicose veins occur when the direction of blood flow, normally from the lower leg to the upper, is reversed due to weakened vein valves and walls. Veins are very fine delicate structures that have one-way valves which propel the blood against the force of gravity. If you have a weakness of the veins, blood goes backward down the leg, causing elevated pressures in the calf and ankle tissues.

As blood swells these lower leg veins, there are some blood cells that leak out of the vein walls and deposit in the surrounding tissues. As your body absorbs the blood, the pigment, made of iron, remains behind and can become deposited, leading to the rusty dark discoloration so often seen with long-standing venous insufficiency. This is known as hyper-pigmentation or venous stasis dermatitis. Unfortunately, once the discoloration occurs, it rarely disappears, even after successful vein treatment. Also, if left untreated, the damaged skin may progress to chronic sores and ulcers which are exacerbated by the elevated venous pressures.

Fortunately, treatment of varicose veins is highly effective and can help prevent the discoloration of the lower leg. When we evaluate patients with varicosities, we first obtain a venous duplex scan, which gives us a roadmap of the anatomy and helps us discuss with you the best alternative to re-establish normal vascular flow in the leg.

The saphenous vein is the common source of varicose veins, and if we close that vein, or eliminate the backflow in the leg, we significantly reduce the pressures in the calf and ankle and minimize the risk of skin damage. VNUS Closure, Clarivein, and VenaSeal are all well accepted and effective methods to treat saphenous vein venous reflux. Phlebectomy is used for the superficial surface veins. The choice of best treatment is best discussed with your vascular surgeon.

As a temporary method to reduce the elevated vein pressures, the use of medical graded knee high support hose are beneficial. The hose do not cure the venous insufficiency, because when you remove the stockings the symptoms recur.

If you have varicose veins, or even in the absence of visible veins but in the presence of darkening of the lower leg skin, you should seek evaluation by a qualified vascular surgeon with an expertise in managing venous disease

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