Varicose veins and leg ulcers are some classic signs that your blood isn’t traveling through your veins properly. But I’ve seen plenty of the less common symptoms that people tend to take for granted, such as pain, swelling, leg cramps, skin problems.
Venous insufficiency may look and feel slightly different for you than someone else with the same condition, but the problem is the same for all — your veins aren’t allowing your blood to flow back to your heart.
I specialize in diagnosing and treating venous insufficiency in men and women of all ages at Louisiana Cardiovascular Institute, my private practice in Alexandria, Louisiana. I’m a board-certified cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon, an Army veteran, and the former chief surgeon assigned to President Ronald Reagan.
Today, my passion is helping my patients throughout Central Louisiana restore their vein health, achieve overall wellness, and extend their lives. Here’s how I help them with venous insufficiency.
Know what’s causing your venous insufficiency
Before I recommend a treatment for your chronic venous insufficiency, it’s important to get to the bottom of what’s causing it. If your blood-flow problems stem from being overweight, smoking, or leading a sedentary life, then a few lifestyle changes may be all it takes to get the blood flowing freely again.
Many women experience venous insufficiency during pregnancy, but it typically resolves after she delivers.
When to seek help for venous insufficiency
Although some types of venous insufficiency can resolve themselves without medical intervention, I don’t recommend self-diagnosing your vein problems. Because symptoms of mild vein conditions overlap with those of more serious conditions, it’s best to come to see me for an accurate diagnosis to prevent dangerous complications.
Here are a few signs to watch for that indicate it’s time to make an appointment:
- Darkened or red skin
- Skin that’s hot to the touch
- Leg skin that feels tight
- Itchy or painful skin
- Unexplained “Charlie horse” or severe leg cramp
- Leg ulcers
- Swollen ankles and legs
- Unnatural heaviness in the legs
I use ultrasound technology to get a better picture of how well your blood is flowing through your veins and where the blockages are. This also lets me measure the speed and direction of the flow.
How I treat venous insufficiency
Once we have all the information necessary to locate your failing vein or veins, I use a minimally invasive technique called Venefit™ endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) to address the condition.
When exercise, weight loss, and elevation don’t improve your condition, EVLT can clear up the problem quickly and safely. In this procedure, I give you a local anesthetic to numb the area, make a tiny incision, and insert a slender catheter into your vein. Once the tip reaches the point of blockage, it emits radiofrequency energy that gently heats the venous tissues and destroys them.
The problem vein collapses and seals shut as I remove the catheter. Over time, your blood naturally redirects to other healthy veins and the dead vein gets flushed away as waste.
You need to wear a compression stocking for a while until the site is healed and healthy blood flow has resumed, and I recommend getting up and walking at least 10 minutes at a time several times throughout the day to ensure good flow.
If you have any of the concerning signs of venous insufficiency I’ve listed, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation so we can determine what’s causing your symptoms and start the right treatment. Contact us by phone or use our online booking tool today to set up an appointment.