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Venous Insufficiency

Commonwealth Vein Center

Vascular, Vein and Wound Specialists & Cardiologists located in Colonial Heights, VA & Richmond, VA, & McLean, VA

Venous insufficiency causes a range of complications and symptoms. However, everyone is familiar with the most common sign: varicose veins. The experienced vein specialists at Commonwealth Vein Center diagnose and treat venous insufficiency, beginning with diagnostic ultrasound, followed by one of today's most advanced treatments for eliminating venous insufficiency and varicose veins. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Colonial Heights, Richmond, or McLean, Virginia, or use the online booking feature today.

Venous Insufficiency Q & A

What is venous insufficiency?

Venous insufficiency begins when one-way valves in your leg veins weaken and fail to work. These valves normally ensure blood flows up your leg vein as it returns to your heart. 

When the valves stop working properly, blood flows backward (refluxes) and goes down the vein. As a result, all the blood doesn't return to your heart. Instead, it accumulates in the vein. The condition is called venous insufficiency.

What complications develop due to venous insufficiency?

Venous insufficiency leads to several complications: 

Varicose veins

These bulging, twisting, deep bluish-purple veins appear when the blood accumulates in your leg veins. In addition to the visible veins, varicose veins may cause symptoms such as: 

  • Leg pain
  • Heavy-feeling legs
  • Itchy legs
  • Restless legs
  • Muscle cramps
  • Burning or throbbing 

Leg swelling caused by a fluid buildup (edema) is another common symptom. 

Skin conditions

Venous insufficiency causes several changes in the skin of your lower leg. You may develop an eczema-like rash, the skin can turn a deep reddish-brown color, and it can become thick, hard, and leathery.   

Venous stasis ulcers

As high venous pressure forces fluids out of the small veins in your lower leg, your skin breaks down, and open wounds (ulcers) develop. These wounds often appear near your ankle. They're dangerous because they won't heal on their own. Instead, you need intensive wound care. 

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

When blood flow slows down due to venous insufficiency, it begins to thicken, and a clot can develop in a vein deep in your leg. That's when you have DVT, which causes symptoms such as:

  • Sudden swelling
  • Leg pain or tenderness
  • Warm-feeling skin
  • Red or discolored skin

If the blood clot breaks free, it can get stuck in your lungs, causing a life-threatening condition called pulmonary embolism. 

How is venous insufficiency treated?

The team at Commonwealth Vein Center performs an ultrasound to examine your veins and diagnose venous insufficiency. Then they recommend one of the following in-office treatments: 

  • Radiofrequency venous ablation
  • ClariVein®
  • VenaSeal™
  • Sclerotherapy (Varithena®)
  • Phlebectomy

While a phlebectomy removes the damaged veins, the other treatments use different techniques to make the diseased veins collapse. Then your body naturally eliminates the treated veins and reroutes blood through other healthy, nearby veins. As a result, the damaged valves and varicose veins disappear, while healthy leg circulation returns.

DVT requires its own treatment, which includes medications to dissolve the clot and thin your blood. In some cases, your provider may insert a deep vein stent to keep the vein open.

If you need experienced care for varicose veins and venous insufficiency, call Commonwealth Vein Center or book an appointment online today.