Are Vein Specialists More Time and Cost Effective in Healing Leg Ulcers?
Image of a Leg Ulcer Left Untreated
By Thomas R. Alosco, MD, FACS, DABVLM
Leg ulcers are common and there can be many reasons why a leg ulcer occurs. A board certified (DABVLM) vein surgeon is an expert in treating vein disease and leg ulcers. Vein specialists’ expertise can dramatically reduce the time to healing and treatment related costs.
Venous Ulcers are a Common Condition, but Progressive in Nature
Did you know: Over 40 million Americans have vein disease but only 6 – 8 % receive treatment?
Nearly one in every four Americans are affected by chronic venous insufficiency, or reflux vein disease. This abnormal venous blood flow is five times more common than peripheral arterial disease. Vein disease is the most common cause of leg swelling in patients over 50 years old. It is estimated that 50% of women over the age of 50 suffer from chronic venous insufficiency. Skin changes from vein disease are often misdiagnosed. Skin changes from vein disease can progress to ulceration if the cause is not treated.
But, There is Hope in Vein Treatment!
Recent studies, including a peer-reviewed article in the New England Journal of Medicine, have demonstrated that early vein treatments by specialists resulted in faster healing of leg ulcers and decreased the possibility of recurrence.
Studies show that:
- Most leg ulcers (43-75%) come from chronic venous insufficiency
- A significant number of patients with untreated vein disease will develop venous ulcers
- It costs US healthcare system billions of dollars annually to treat venous ulcers
- Early closure of diseased veins can result in faster healing of leg ulcers with much less recurrence
Board-Certified Vein Specialists do it Best
When looked at by a non-vein-specialized physician, many skin changes from venous disease are mistaken for an infection or thought to be from non-venous disease. This misunderstanding of the condition can result in unnecessary treatments involving hospitalization with intravenous antibiotics or, in the case of ulceration, costly treatments with hyperbaric oxygen and skin grafts, which have a limited effectiveness in treating a venous ulcer. These varied treatments are expensive for which patients are often responsible. Additionally, many wound care facilities do not have the staff or technology to diagnose or treat venous ulcerations.
But a vein specialist, who focuses exclusively on vein treatments in the lower extremities, will be able to identify the cause of a venous ulceration through a simple ultrasound.
Ideally, your vein specialist should:
- Be board-certified and follow insurance guidelines to prevent costly denials for which you may be responsible;
- Be able to diagnose and treat diseased veins with (COVID compliant) in-office procedures to prevent skin changes leading to ulceration; and,
- Provide wound care supplies, which can be ordered and delivered to your home within 48 hours, eliminating unnecessary exposure to other patients and facilities.
Finding a Vein Doctor Near You
If you have itchy legs, discolored legs, skin changes on your leg or have a leg ulcer, you can easily set up a virtual telemedicine or in person consultation today with a vein specialist at Center for Vein Restoration. CVR prides itself on actively providing their patients exceptional and accurate diagnosis with digital consultations over the phone or desktop during this COVID19 Pandemic. Your safety is of the upmost importance to us as we continue to treat venous insufficiencies through the 2020 year.
You can schedule a consultation online, or by contacting The Center for Vein Restoration at 1-800-FIX-LEGS.
Dr. Alosco is board certified by the American Board of Surgery as well as Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and has won numerous teaching awards in Surgery. Dr Alosco has practiced vein medicine surgery for over 25 years.
Pannier F, Rabe E. Differential diagnosis of leg ulcers. Phlebology 2013; 28 Suppl 1:55-60
McGuckin M, Waterman R, Brooks J, et al. Validation of venous ulcer guidelines in the United States and United Kingdom. Am J Surg 2002; 183:132-7
Gohel MS, Heatley F, Liu X, et al. N England J Med 2018; 378:2105-2114