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Leg Ulcers and Varicose Veins

by Jane Meggitt

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about vein treatment, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

The overwhelming majority of leg ulcers are directly related to varicose veins. Problem valves in the veins permit blood to pool in the legs, resulting in swelling and pain. Over time, the skin becomes damaged, causing ulceration. Current treatment consists of using compression bandages to reduce swelling, and doctors may prescribe antibiotics to patients whose ulcers show signs of infection. However, this treatment isn’t that effective, with more than 60 percent of leg ulcer patients eventually experiencing a recurrence. A recent British study shows that early treatment of varicose veins can reduce the threat of developing leg ulcers.

Compression Stockings vs. Varicose Vein Treatment

The study involved 450 patients, all of whom received compression stockings, and half of whom underwent some form of varicose vein treatment. Treatments included sclerotherapy, in which a foam is injected into the vein to cause collapse, and ablation, which uses lasers or heat to eradicate varicose veins. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, patients who received varicose vein treatment found that their ulcers had healed within 56 days, while the average time for healing for those who only wore compression stockings was 82 days. Six months later, patients who received treatment were 85 percent healed, while those who only wore compression stockings were 76 percent healed. That’s a statistically significant difference. The study concluded that, “Early endovenous ablation of superficial venous reflux resulted in faster healing of venous leg ulcers and more time free from ulcers than deferred endovenous ablation.” In lay person’s terms, that means having varicose vein treatment done early heals leg ulcers more quickly and such patients were not as likely to develop subsequent leg ulcers as those who went the compression stockings route.

What the Results Mean to Patients

In the UK alone, an estimated 750,000 people develop leg ulcers annually, most of which are connected to varicose veins. Besides the pain involved with such ulcers, the wound may take months to heal with conventional compression hose therapy. For some patients, healing time is measured in years. In a worst case scenario, a leg ulcer may become septic, and that can prove fatal. The study that sending such a patient to a vascular clinic for varicose vein treatment as soon as the ulcer is diagnosed leads to much faster healing. In the long run, this is also a cost saving for insurers, as patients do not require as much long-term care and their quality of live improves.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about vein treatment, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

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