Search Results for: deep vein thrombosis

How to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis

There are simple steps patients can take to reduce their chances of developing a potentially dangerous blood clot.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) refers to a blood clot that forms deep in a leg vein. Roughly 600,000 Americans develop DVT every year, according to the Surgeon General. Not only does DVT cause painful swelling and discolored skin, it can also lead to a potentially serious pulmonary embolism (PE) if the clot travels to the lungs.

Normally, platelets and proteins in the bloodstream form a clot when a blood vessel is cut. In this case, the clot prevents the body from losing too much blood. However, the danger arises when there is no damage to the vessel but a clot occurs anyway, likely due to a condition called venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency occurs when the valves in the veins are unable to pump blood back up to the heart. As blood pools in the veins, there is a greater chance of clotting.

Several factors put people at a higher risk of DVT. These include a family or personal history of clotting disorders, being overweight, living a sedentary lifestyle, and smoking. The odds of DVT also rise when women are pregnant or undergoing hormone replacement therapy. People who are bedridden for long periods in the hospital must be carefully watched for DVT, as well.

Yet individuals at heightened risk of DVT can lower their chances with some prevention tips. Getting treatment at the first signs of DVT can also help avoid a more serious condition, such as a PE.

Preventing DVT

By following these precautions, patients can reduce their chances of developing blood clots.

  1. Don’t Sit or Stand for Too Long. Sitting or standing for long periods tends to cause blood to pool in the veins. In the case of long plane or car trips, get up and move around at least every two hours. When seated, encourage proper circulation by flexing ankles in a circular motion.
  2. Drink Plenty of Water. When muscles don’t get enough hydration, they tighten up and restrict blood flow in the veins. While drinking plenty of water is always recommended to maintain good blood flow, it’s especially true when traveling long distances. Another tip is to avoid alcohol, which can cause dehydration.
  3. Get Regular Exercise. Even a simple workout like walking for 30 minutes a day builds up the calf muscles so they can support the veins in pumping blood upwards. Further, since extra weight ups the chance of DVT, exercise can help maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep blood clots at bay.
  4. Wear Compression Stockings. Compression stockings aid circulation by squeezing the leg veins and forcing blood flow back to the heart. Available in drugstores and medical supply outlets, the strongest compression stockings can only be purchased with a doctor’s prescription.
  5. Treat Varicose Veins. According to a recent study, having varicose veins increases the odds of DVT by 5.3 times. By proactively treating varicose veins, patients may also decrease their risk of DVT

Anyone who suspects they have a blood clot should visit a doctor immediately. An ultrasound exam or a venogram — a test during which a dye is injected into a vein followed by an X-ray — are used to diagnose DVT. The condition is then treated with an anticoagulant medication.

We’re Vein Specialists

The staff at Premier Heart & Vein Care are experts in diagnosing and treating varicose veins and other vein disorders. We also can assess your risk of DVT and recommend therapies to prevent blood clots. Make an appointment today to ensure your vein health for many years to come.

Should I See a Doctor for My Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins can directly impact your health and quality of life — here’s how to know if you’re at risk. 

While varicose veins may not pose an immediate risk for some people, they are a serious health concern for thousands of others. In fact, varicose veins may result in painful leg swelling, numbness, skin ulcers that refuse to heal, infections, excessive bleeding, blood clots, and more. 

These symptoms make it difficult to enjoy daily activities and can, in some cases, be life-threatening. Keep an eye out for the following signs to determine if your varicose veins are putting you at risk:

1. Swollen, Tender Skin

While varicose veins are a common part of the aging process — a result of worn-out valves that are no longer able to effectively pump blood back to the heart — it’s important to pay close attention to your veins as they change. In particular, varicose veins are a risk factor for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot that develops deep within the body.

Signs you may have DVT include cramps, discoloration, swelling, and skin that is red, tight, tender and/or warm to the touch.

2. Legs that Ache, Throb, or Feel Uncharacteristically Weak

Blood that fails to circulate properly and pools in the veins can cause patients to experience persistent aches and pains throughout the day. Others may notice that their legs feel weak or heavy. These symptoms are often heightened during warm weather or as a result of excessive sitting or standing.

It’s important to pay attention to these signs of poor vein health, as they can make day-to-day tasks more difficult, directly impacting your quality of life.

3. Itchy, Dry Skin and/or Discoloration 

Leg ulcers are breaks in the skin, or lesions, that usually impact tissues below the wound. If left untreated, they can cause serious, life-threatening infections.

Dry, itchy skin, discoloration, and/or a rash on your lower legs or around your ankles all indicate poor circulation and warn of an impending ulcer. Other signs of a leg ulcer include swelling and firm skin that feels almost hard to the touch.

Seeking Treatment for Varicose Veins

If you’re experiencing any of the signs and symptoms described above, it’s important to make an appointment with a vein specialist as soon as possible. A vein expert will conduct a comprehensive exam and use the latest in diagnostic equipment to determine the best course of action.

Common forms of modern vein treatments include: 

  • VenaSeal™: VenaSeal is a type of “glue” injected into spider or varicose veins to create a barrier. This barrier prevents blood from entering the unhealthy vein, thus closing it off and relieving many painful vein-related symptoms. 
  • Venefit™: Venefit is designed to treat varicose veins, including those that are larger or located deep within the body. During this procedure, a vascular surgeon threads a thin catheter into the abnormal vein and administers radiofrequency energy. This causes the vein to collapse and shrink.
  • Varithena®: Varithena is the only foam treatment that's been approved by the FDA to treat large leg veins. Once injected into the vein, the foam irritates the vein lining, causing it to close. After treatment, the body redirects blood to neighboring veins so circulation is improved and varicose vein symptoms are resolved.
  • Sclerotherapy: Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat varicose and spider veins. It involves injecting a sclerosant, or solvent, into the damaged veins, causing them to collapse. This outpatient procedure is typically performed in less than an hour.

These are just a few of the many varicose vein treatment options available. Don’t put your health on hold any longer — get in touch with Premier Heart & Vein Care today to set up an appointment with a vein specialist.

Types of Vein Disease Problems

Veins are responsible for circulating blood and oxygen throughout the body and back to the heart. However, while the veins are so important, they can develop problems, and these problems can cause a number of complications.

At the onset of vein disease, symptoms are often minimal, causing the disease to sometimes go unnoticed. With some diseases of the veins, if the condition goes untreated, it can become life-threatening. For that reason, being aware of the signs and symptoms of vein disease and seeking immediate medical treatment is vital to your health and well-being.

Venous Disease

There are several vein diseases, but some of the most common include the following:

  • Varicose veins –A chronic vein disease (CVD,) in this condition, the veins become dilated and they thicken. Varicose veins are comprised of twisted blood vessels, and they are unable to control proper blood flow.
  • Spider veins – Another CVD, spider veins are dilated capillaries under the surface of the skin. They appear as small red, purple and blue vessels that resemble spider legs, hence the name. Like varicose veins, spider veins also twist and turn.
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – This is a very serious condition that most commonly impacts the veins of the leg, though it can also develop in the veins of the pelvis and the arms. In DVT, blood clots form within the large veins, and if left untreated, these clots can loosen and travel to your lungs, resulting in a pulmonary embolism.
  • Lymphedema – This disease is caused by a blockage in the lymph vessels that drain fluid from the tissues of the body, allowing cells from the immune system to travel where they need to. If left untreated, lymphedema can cause serious infections and/or lymphangiosarcoma (a rare form of soft tissue cancer.
  • Leg ulcers – These breaks in the skin, or lesions, usually impact subcutaneous tissues, muscle, or bone. They can occur in diabetics, and are the result of insufficiencies in the veins. They can cause serious, life-threatening infections.
  • Vein sores – These chronic wounds of the veins are the result of the poor circulation of blood from your legs, back to the heart.
  • Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) – When the venous wall and/or the valves within the leg veins don’t work properly, circulation of the blood from the legs to the heart is compromised. This vein disease causes blood to collect in the veins, causing stasis, a serious condition.
  • Pulmonary embolism – This life-threatening condition causes a blood clot in the lungs. It restricts blood flow to the lungs, causing serious damage to the lungs.
  • Phlebitis – This is an inflammation of the veins, which is caused by an injury to the blood vessel wall, insufficient venous flow, or abnormal coagulation.

Should you develop one of these more serious vein problems, immediate medical treatment is required.

Having the health of your veins assessed on a regular basis is crucial to your overall health and well-being. Contact our San Luis Obispo vein treatment clinic,Premier Heart & Vein Clinic for an appointment for vein care.

 

Spider Vein Treatment Options: Ultrasound-guided Sclerotherapy

Patients who suffer from unsightly spider veins can look forward to state-of-the-art non-surgical therapies offered on an outpatient basis.  The gold standard for spider vein treatment is ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy.  Understanding how it works can help an individual decide whether this is an attractive option.

How Ultrasound Works

The technology has two uses in treating spider and varicose veins.  Duplex ultrasound is helpful for diagnosing vein disease.  It also guides a physician while performing sclerotherapy to eliminate spider and small varicose vessels.

Cedars-Sinai® states that the technology is beneficial in examining a variety of conditions that might affect blood vessels, such as:

  • Carotid occlusive disease
  • Leg vessel disease
  • Arm artery disease
  • The condition of veins
  • Aneurysms
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Venous insufficiency

Duplex ultrasound is actually a combination of two distinct types of technology.  According to MedlinePlus, one is traditional ultrasound, which uses sound waves bouncing off vessels to create images.  The other is Doppler ultrasound, which makes a record of sound waves as they reflect off moving objects like blood to assess speed and flow pattern.

How a Vein Doctor Performs Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is the most frequent method to treat spider veins and is sometimes appropriate for small varicose vessels.  Spider veins are generally much smaller than varicose vessels.  They develop closer to the skin’s surface in red, blue, or purplish clusters that mimic a spider's web.

Although they seldom create serious medical problems, they can affect an individual’s self-image.  While conservative measures like compression stockings might slow the progression of the vein disease that produces spider and varicose veins, they cannot eliminate existing vessels.

The physician who treats these abnormal vessels might be a vascular surgeon or other type of vein specialist.  This specialist performs sclerotherapy using a fine needle to inject a liquid or a foam, known as a sclerosant, directly into a targeted vein to eliminate it, Wake Forest Baptist Health states.  The procedure is most effective for veins with a diameter of less than 5 mm.

Injection of the sclerosant irritates the walls of the vein, causing them to stick together and close.  Eventually, the body resorbs these treated vessels so that they seem to disappear.  Healthier veins nearby take up the workload of the vessels destroyed.

Combining ultrasound with sclerotherapy offers the physician added precision.  It identifies veins that might not be obvious to the naked eye.  The technology transmits the images it creates to a computer screen where the doctor can view them in real time and also look at a recorded edition later if necessary.

For most patients, there is no required preparation in advance of an ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy appointment.  A session typically takes less than an hour.  The number of injections required depends on the number of targeted vessels.  Patients typically return to their normal schedules the following day except for strenuous activities.

 

Varicose vein frequently asked questions

What causes varicose veins?

Varicose veins develop when the valves in the veins don’t function properly and there is a backflow of blood. Factors that can increase your chances of developing varicose veins include pregnancy, occupation, genetics, age, and obesity.

What are spider veins?

Spider veins are tiny, threadlike veins that are close to the surface of the skin. They are often purple or red. Veinwave treatment works best on the red ones.

What is superficial venous reflux?

Superficial venous reflux is a condition that develops when the valves that usually keep blood flowing out of your legs become damaged or diseased. This causes blood to pool in your legs. Common symptoms of superficial venous reflux include pain, swelling, leg heaviness and fatigue, restless legs, itching, as well as varicose veins in your legs.

What is the VENEFIT procedure?

The Venefit procedure is a minimally invasive treatment for superficial venous reflux. A thin catheter is inserted into the vein through a small opening. The catheter delivers thermal energy to the vein wall, causing it to heat, collapse, and seal shut. It is also known as radiofrequency ablation (RFA).

How does it work to treat superficial venous reflux?

Since valves can’t be repaired easily, the only alternative is to re-route blood flow through healthy veins. Traditionally, this has been done by surgically removing (stripping) the troublesome vein from your leg. The Venefit procedure provides a less invasive alternative to vein stripping by simply closing the problem vein instead. Once the diseased vein is closed, other healthy veins take over and empty blood from your legs.

How is the VENEFIT procedure different from vein stripping?

During a stripping procedure, the surgeon makes an incision in your groin and ties off the vein, after which a stripper tool is threaded through the saphenous vein and used to pull the vein out of your leg through a second incision just above your calf. In the Venefit procedure, there is no need for  surgery. Instead, the vein remains in place and is closed using a special  catheter inserted through a small incision. This may eliminate the bruising and pain often associated with vein stripping (i.e., that may result from the tearing of side branch veins while the saphenous vein is pulled out). Vein stripping is usually performed in an operating room, under a general anesthetic, while the Venefit procedure is performed on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia.

Is the VENEFIT procedure painful? When can I resume activity?

Although some people are more sensitive than others, patients generally report little pain both during the procedure and post procedure as well. Immediately post procedure patients are asked to go for a brief walk to immediately access the result. Many patients typically return to normal activities within a few days. For a few weeks following the treatment, we recommend a regular walking regimen, usually 30-60 minutes once or twice daily, and suggest you refrain from very strenuous activities (heavy lifting, for example) or prolonged periods of standing. Specific questions regarding exercise and work activities shoud be addressed wtih Dr Stevens.

How soon after treatment will my symptoms improve?

Most patients report a noticeable improvement in their symptoms or varicsoities within 1-2 weeks following the procedure, although it may ultimately take several additional weeks to fully assess the adequacy of the procedure.

Is there any scarring, bruising, or swelling after the VENEFIT procedure?

Patients report minimal to no scarring, bruising, or swelling following the Venefit procedure.

Are there any potential risks and complications associated with the VENEFIT PROcedure?

As with any medical intervention, potential risks and complications exist with the Venefit procedure. All patients should consult their doctors to determine if their conditions present any special risks. Dr Stevens will review potential complications of the Venefit procedure at the consultation, and can be reviewed in the safety summary. Potential complications can include: vessel perforation, thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, phlebitis, hematoma, infection, adjacent nerve injury (tingling or numbness) and/or skin burn.

Is the VENEFIT Procedure suitable for everyone?

Only a physician can tell you if the Venefit procedure is a viable option for your vein problem. Experience has shown that many patients with superficial venous reflux disease can be treated with the Venefit procedure, with over 500,000 patients treated worldwide to date over the last ten years.

Is age an important consideration for the VENEFIT procedure?

The most important steps in determining whether or not the Venefit procedure is appropriate for you is a complete ultrasound examination by your physician along with a comprehensive history and physical examination. Age alone is not a factor in determining whether or not the Venefit procedure is appropriate for you. The Venefit procedure has been used to treat patients across a wide range of ages.

What happens to the treated vein left behind in the leg?

The vein simply becomes fibrous tissue after treatment. Over time, the vein will gradually incorporate into surrounding tissue.

Is the Venefit covered by my insurance?

Many insurance companies are paying for the Venefit procedure in part or in full. Most insurance companies determine coverage for all treatments, including the Venefit procedure, based on medical necessity. The Venefit procedure has positive coverage policies with most major health insurers. We can discuss your insurance coverage further at the time of consultation coordinated with our billing department.

What is ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy?

Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy is used when there are deeper veins that are causing symptoms or these veins are still contributing to the existing varicose veins. It is a very simple procedure that takes less than 30 minutes to perform. At times, it is performed at the time of the radiofrequency ablation, and at other times it is performed separately. Using the ultrasound, Dr. Stevens will locate the veins to be injected and slowly inject a solution called Sotradecol or polidocanol that will cause the vessel walls to become damaged. Over time, your body will reabsorb these damaged veins much like it would a bruise. Expect some mild bruising and on occasion, you will experience some hard lumps and bumps where the veins were. These may be tender but will resolve over time. Sometime, you may experience some brownish discoloration after these injections but that will also resolve over time. You will wear your compression stockings for 3 days after the injection and followup will be scheduled. It is possible you will require a second session if all the veins have not resolved. Normal activities can be resumed within a few days post procedure

How are small varicose veins treated with sclerotherapy?

Spider veins can be treated with sclerotherapy. These veins usually have “feeder veins” that need to be treated along with the smaller veins that you see. Treating spider veins is a process and the average patient will require 3-5 sessions spaced 4-6 weeks apart. It is important to understand that each vein needs treated several times before resolution is achieved. All veins are hereditary so while we can eliminate what you have, you can make more throughout your life. The procedures are very tolerable since the needles used are extremely small and the solution is usually not painful. After the treatment, you may experience some bruising from the injections.You will be asked to wear your compression stockings for 3 days and scheduled for your next treatment in 4-6 weeks if necessary.

Are SCLEROTHERAPY procedures covered by insurance?

Most insurance companies cover vein treatment procedures in part or in full if they are deemed medically necessary. For more information about which insurance providers we contract with, please visit our Insurance page.

Have a question not answered here? Feel free to contact us

5 Types of Venous Disease

Your veins do something amazing. Everyday, they fight against gravity, pumping blood up to your heart. Given the forces working against their veins, it shouldn't be much of a surprise that many people develop some form of venous disease or another. Vein disease develops when your veins have difficulty pumping the blood back to the heart. The walls of the veins might be weak or the valves damaged. Get to know a few types of common vein problems.

Examples of Vein Disease

Varicose Veins or Spider Veins

When you think of vein problems, spider veins or varicose veins are probably what comes to mind first. That shouldn't be much of a surprise, since about half of the population has or will have varicose or spider veins, according to the Office on Women's Health. Varicose veins form when the valves in the veins don't work as they should. Blood is allowed to flow backwards down the legs, causing the veins to bulge and twist.

Spider veins form when there is a backup of blood in the tiny vessels near the skin. Usually, spider veins are much smaller than varicose veins. They can also develop on the face and can form as a result of sun exposure.

Superficial Venous Reflux

Another common problem in the veins is superficial venous reflux. It's also known as venous insufficiency. When a person has venous reflux, the blood doesn't make its way up the legs to the heart. Instead, it pools in the veins, causing swelling, darkening of the skin and a feeling of pain or pressure in the legs. Venous insufficiency is often connected to varicose veins, but usually the symptoms it causes are much worse.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, develops when a blood clot forms deep in a person's veins, usually in the legs. Several things can put a person at an increased risk for developing DVT, including an inherited blood clotting disorder, hormonal birth control and sitting still for long periods of time, such as on a flight.

Some people with DVT don't have any symptoms. Others might have pain or swelling in the affected leg. The major concern with DVT is that the clot will come loose and travel to the lung, causing a pulmonary embolism, a potentially life threatening problem. For that reason, treating the clot early is usually the best course of action. A doctor might prescribe blood thinners or other medications to reduce the clot or compression stockings to help with swelling.

At Premier Heart and Vein Care, Dr. Ken Stevens offers patients with vein disease a variety of treatment options. To learn more about vein problems and the options for treatment, call 1-805-979-4777 to schedule a consultation today.

 

Sclerotherapy

Vein Care

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy | Varicose Vein Treatment | Spider Vein Treatment San Luis Obispo (SLO) County CASclerotherapy is a minimally invasive medical procedure used to treat varicose and spider veins, most commonly found on the legs, by collapsing them through the use of a solvent. Sclerotherapy has been used on patients since the 1930s with great success, producing increasingly effective medical, as well as cosmetic, results.

 

Reasons for Sclerotherapy

Some of the reasons a patient may desire, or Dr Stevens may recommend, sclerotherapy may include one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Pain, aching or burning sensations in the legs or feet
  • Swelling or redness at the site
  • Cramping of the legs, especially at night
  • Scaly, dry or discolored skin at the site
  • Discomfort after sitting or standing for long periods

Individuals troubled by varicose veins may choose, in consultation with Dr Stevens, to undergo sclerotherapy either because they find them unattractive or because the diseased veins are causing unpleasant and/or dangerous symptoms. Dr. Stevens and his staff have extensive experience with sclerotherapy, performing over 700 procedures to date with excellent results.

The Sclerotherapy Procedure

During sclerotherapy, a  sclerosant is injected into the damaged veins. Only FDA approved agents such as polidocanol and sodium tetradecyl sulfate are utilized in the practice. The sclerosant will cause irritation in the affected veins and produce their eventual collapse. During this procedure, Dr Stevens is guided through the use of ultrasound to ensure precision; sometime Veinlite guidance is utilized as well. When the weakened veins collapse, they will be reabsorbed into the body and other healthier veins will take their place in the circulatory system.

Sclerotherapy has proven to be a safe procedure and is performed outpatient in the office. Typically, sclerotherapy is performed in less than an hour, although a varying number of injections may be required, depending on the number of veins involved. Patients do not require an anesthetic and usually report little or no discomfort during the procedure, only a mild burning sensation. In some instances, several sclerotherapy treatments may be necessary. Sclerotherapy techniques include both liquid sclerotherapy and ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy

Risks of Sclerotherapy

Although sclerotherapy is a safe procedure that has been successfully performed for many years, there are certain risks associated with any medical procedure. Certain minimal, temporary side effects are to be expected, including bruising and discoloration. More serious complications are rare, but may include:

Inflammation

Swelling, warmth and discomfort around the injection site may indicate the presence of an infection for which the doctor may prescribe antibiotics, or more often irritation or inflammation of the vein from the scleroscent; a quick ultrasound is often used to make the correct diagnosis

Blood Clot

A lump of clotted blood may form in a treated vein and require drainage. Rarely, a deeper blood clot may develop, known as a deep vein thrombosis. Since there is danger that such a clot will break off and travel to the chest, resulting in a pulmonary embolism, such a clot requires urgent medical attention. Sudden shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness or the coughing up of foamy blood are signs of pulmonary embolism and must be addressed immediately. Again, a quick ultrasound is used to establish the diagnosis

ALLERGY AND OTHER ADVERSE REACTIONS

While rare, it's possible for a patient to have a severe allergic reaction to the sclerosant used in the treatment. Tiny air bubbles may rise in the bloodstream. These may not result in any symptoms, but if the patient experiences visual disturbances, headache, coughing or nausea, Dr Stevens should be contacted.

Nerve Damage

Numbness or odd sensations in the affected limb following sclerotherapy should always be investigated.

 

 

 

Recovery from Sclerotherapy

Patients are able to return home shortly after sclerotherapy. Most can return to work and resume normal activities the next day, although exercise and strenuous activities are to be avoided a week or two. Compression bandages usually need to be worn for a few days  after the procedure per Dr. Stevens instructions . While it may take up to a month for the patient to see full results, some improvement is sometimes visible immediately.

In order to promote vascular health and to preserve the positive effects of the sclerotherapy, it is recommended that patients maintain a healthy weight and make exercise part of their daily routine, and use their support stockings as instructed.

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Venous Duplex Scanning

Vein Care

Venous Duplex Scanning

Venous Duplex Scanning San Luis Obispo (SLO) County CAVenous Duplex Scanning is used to diagnose vascular conditions in the legs. This procedure can effectively detect blood clots in the legs that may cause dangerous conditions such as deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. While many diseased leg veins are visible on the skin in the form of varicose or spider veins, some patients may experience significant venous reflux, or back flow, that can only be detected through ultrasound imaging. A Venous Duplex Scanning shows a thorough, detailed image of the veins, along with the direction of blood flow, to help accurately diagnose vascular conditions. The ultrasound lab is certified by the American College of Radiology, and has extensive experience to date performing almost 5000 studies. Dr. Stevens is a Registered Phlebology Sonographer, and his staff is certified as well.

Reasons for Using Venous Duplex Scanning

This procedure can identify narrowed or blocked arteries or veins or faulty venous valves. Venous Duplex Scanning is an essential part of successful vein treatment. Most often it is performed on patients with leg swelling, varicose or spider veins, or patients with symptoms of  venous insufficiency. Symptoms of these conditions may include:

  • Pain, cramping, numbness, itching, swelling
  • Pain made worse by standing
  • Pain improved by elevating the leg
  • Discoloration or hardening of the skin on the leg
  • Ulceration of the leg

The ultrasound procedure is an alternative to venography or angiography. In addition to assisting in the diagnosis of ongoing vascular conditions, Venous Duplex Scanning may also be utilized to diagnose the extent of vascular injuries and to evaluate vascular repair. The process may also be used to pinpoint a location for needle or catheter placement.

Venous Duplex Scanning Procedure

The Venous Duplex Scanning procedure is a straightforward, noninvasive one, is performed in our certified ultrasound laboratory. During the procedure, a clear gel is applied to the targeted area of the legs and a transducer is moved across the site. The transducer sends out high frequency sound waves which produce an image on a screen of the blood vessels in question, showing any blockage, clot, narrowing, occlusion or spasm of the blood vessel being viewed.

Conditions which may be diagnosed through the use of Venous Duplex Scanning include:

  • Venous insufficiency
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Thrombophlebitis
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Vascular tumors

The patient experiences no pain during a Venous Duplex Scanning so there is no anesthesia or recovery required. Another advantage of this diagnostic test is that the image on the computer screen appears immediately so it can be reviewed by Dr. Stevens and the patient at the time of the procedure.

There are no risks associated with the ultrasound procedure. There is no exposure to radiation. Depending on the results of the Venous Duplex Scanning, the doctor will be able to personalize an appropriate treatment.

Wound Care & Lymphedema Treatment

Vein Care

Wound Care & Lymphedema Treatment

Wound Care | Lymphedema Treatment San Luis Obispo (SLO) County CALymphedema results from insufficient drainage of lymphatic fluid in an extremity. The resultant pooling of lymphatic fluid causes the extremity to swell, which can lead to infection or ulceration. Lymphedema may be caused by any of several disease processes, or may be a congenital condition. It is also possible for lymphedema and venous disorders to exist in the same patient. When lymphedema is complicated by poor circulation, there is likely to be great difficulty in healing the patient's wounds.

Venous Insufficiency and Lymphedema

Venous insufficiency can also lead to swelling of extremities, particularly the legs, when blood pools because of weakened vein walls and dysfunctional valves. It is important that such swelling be correctly diagnosed, because leg swelling can be the result of a number of different causes, including heart failure and inflammation from traumatic injury.

It is also essential to differentiate vascular and lymphatic issues since they may present with similar symptoms. Premier Heart and Vein Care is the only practice in the region providing comprehensive wound and lymphedema care related to venous insufficiency.

At times, untreated chronic venous insufficiency can lead to secondary lymphedema, and either condition may be complicated by excessive weight. When patients have either problem, or a combination of vascular and lymphatic issues, they often suffer from slow-healing wounds.

Wound Care in Patients with Lymphedema

There are several possible treatments for wounds in patients whose vascular and/or lymphatic function is impaired. While there are a variety of medical and surgical curative treatments for venous insufficiency, chronic lymphedema is incurable. There are, however, several ways of treating lymphedema to keep it from worsening. They include compression, with support garments or devices, elevation of the affected limb and correcting the underlying cause such as venous insufficiency. Such treatments are important because untreated lymphedema can result in decreased function and mobility of the affected area, and may lead to serious infection and swelling. To avoid infection, patients with lymphedema need to be especially mindful of hygiene, and avoid situations that might result in injuries.
Once a wound occurs in a patient with lymphedema and possible vascular concerns, treatment includes the following:

  • Aggressive administration of antibiotics to avoid cellulitis
  • Debridement to remove necrotic tissue
  • Gentle scrubbing and irrigation
  • Compressive & non adhesive dressings to help with wound healing & avoid deep venous thrombosis
  • Massage therapy to help fluid drain
  • Exercise involving gentle muscle contraction.
  • Applying either radiofrequency ablation or sclerotherapy to address the underlying venous insufficiency and venous hypertension
  • Application of Apligraf as needed to help with venous ulcer healing
  • Utilization of both CircAid and Flexitouch systems to help manage swelling

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