Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Venous Insufficiency Overview

What is venous insufficiency?
A person with venous insufficiency has damaged veins in the legs. Veins are thin-walled vessels that return blood to the heart. Tiny valves inside the veins prevent blood flow from reversing direction. Damage to valves allows blood to collect in the veins, causing them to swell. This condition can lead to the formation of varicose veins, stasis dermatitis, peripheral neuropathy, and skin ulcers. Causes of venous insufficiency include leg injury, deep venous thrombosis, thrombophlebitis, and abnormal development of veins in the womb. About 3 percent of people in the US have venous insufficiency.

What are the symptoms of venous insufficiency?
Symptoms of venous insufficiency include swelling, pain, and skin redness in both legs. Additional symptoms include leg numbness (bilateral), skin ulcers, and varicose veins.

How does the doctor treat venous insufficiency?
Treatment for venous insufficiency may include keeping the legs elevated while sitting, regular exercise, and support hose. Treatment for severe venous insufficiency includes surgery.

Continue to Venous Insufficiency Incidence

Last Updated: Aug 31, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Venous Insufficiency References
  1. Callejas JM, Manasanch J; ETIC Group. Epidemiology of chronic venous insufficiency of the lower limbs in the primary care setting. Int Angiol. 2004 Jun;23(2):154-63. [15507894]
  2. Jawien A. The influence of environmental factors in chronic venous insufficiency. Angiology. 2003 Jul-Aug;54 Suppl 1:S19-31. [12934754]
  3. Min RJ, Khilnani NM, Golia P. Duplex ultrasound evaluation of lower extremity venous insufficiency. J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2003 Oct;14(10):1233-41. [14551269]
  4. Puggioni A, Kalra M, Gloviczki P. Superficial vein surgery and SEPS for chronic venous insufficiency. Semin Vasc Surg. 2005 Mar;18(1):41-8. [15791553]
  5. Yamaki T, Nozaki M. Patterns of venous insufficiency after an acute deep vein thrombosis. J Am Coll Surg. 2005 Aug;201(2):231-8. [16038821]
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