Left Untreated, Venous Reflux Can Progress to Other Conditions
Beyond the purely cosmetic concerns about spider veins and the pain, fatigue and discomfort that result from varicose veins, venous reflux is a progressive disease that can lead to other, more significant circulatory problems as it worsens.
Leg Swelling (Edema)
Swelling of the leg is a further sign that damaged or diseased vein valves are not functioning properly. Since the blood cannot be effectively returned to the heart, it pools in the leg resulting in higher than normal pressure (venous hypertension), and causes the leg to swell. This swelling is called edema.
In addition, when blood flow out of the legs through superficial and perforating veins is inadequate, this higher-than-normal pressure can result in damage to the skin. Progression of venous reflux can lead to changes in the skin’s color (hyperpigmentation) as well as changes in skin texture.
The most severe stage of venous reflux disease is when the inadequate blood flow results in an ulcer, commonly near the ankle. In fact, damaged or diseased perforating veins are the source of venous reflux in nearly two-thirds of venous ulcer patients. These ulcers are raw and painful wounds which may not always be healed using only antibiotics or salves. Our practice is experienced in offering the most progressive approaches in treating patients with advanced symptoms of venous reflux, including venous leg ulcers.