Wound Care

Venous Stasis Ulcer

The exact etiology of venous stasis disease is not certain, but is thought to arise when venous valves that exist to prevent backflow of blood do not function properly. This causes the pressure in the veins of the legs to increase which is the definition of venous hypertension. When venous hypertension exists, there is leakage of fluid, proteins and blood cells into the tissues. This causes the sign and symptoms seen in venous stasis disease and leads to the formation of venous stasis ulcers. The surgeons at University Surgeons Associated, PC frequently treat patients with venous stasis disease.

WHAT is a venous stasis ulcer?

Venous stasis ulcers usually develop along the medial distal leg in a patient with venous stasis disease.  They are the major cause of chronic leg wounds and almost always occur below the knees.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS?

  • Swelling of legs, ankles, or other areas
  • Darkening of skin at the ankles or legs
  • Thickening of skin at the ankles or legs
  • Leg pain
  • Itching
  • Thin shiny skin
  • Red skin spots
  • Skin macules or red patches
  • Skin irritation or cracks
  • Skin blisters and weeping
  • Ulcer formation

HOW IS VENOUS STASIS DISEASE DIAGNOSED?

A full medical history of the patient is evaluated.  A wound specialist will examine the wound thoroughly and begin initial therapy.  Laboratory testing and imaging studies such as noninvasive vascular studies, X-rays, CT and MRI scans may be performed to help diagnose the problems and develop a treatment plan.  A multidisciplinary approach involving the staff of the Center, the primary care physician and specialists increases the likelihood of correct diagnosis, successful wound healing and prevention of complications or recurrence. 

HOW IS A VENOUS STASIS ULCER TREATED?

  • Debridement of the Ulcer
  • Appropriate Dressing of the Wound
  • Treatment of Infection & Inflammation
  • Control Swelling and Edema
  • Compression of the Leg
  • Protection of the Wound
  • Sometimes Surgery on the Veins
  • Management of Wound Pain
  • Treat Systemic Illnesses & Nutrition
  • Advanced Therapies to Stimulate Tissue Growth

WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR

Any wound that does not heal within a month under routine medical treatment is a difficult to heal wound that might benefit from the specialized care available through the University Wound Care & Hyperbarics Center.  A multidisciplinary approach involving your surgeon at University Surgeons Associates, the staff of the Center, your primary care physician and specialists increases the likelihood of successful wound healing and prevention of complications or recurrence.  These difficult to heal wounds frequently require weeks to months to completely heal and many of the modalities used in treatment are arduous and time consuming.  This means there must be a real commitment by the patient and their care givers to follow through with the recommendations and treatments as scheduled.  Partial or incomplete therapy almost always results in failure to heal.  The ultimate consequence of failure to heal is loss of limb or life.

If you have an established venous stasis ulcer you should considered contacting your surgeon at University Surgeons Associates, your primary care physician or the staff of the University Wound Care & Hyperbarics Center for any of the following problems:

  • Persistent fever over 101 degrees F (39 C)
  • Pain that is not relieved by your medications
  • Chills
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • The wound is larger or deeper
  • The wound looks dried out or dark
  • Purulent drainage (pus) from the ulcer
  • Redness surrounding the ulcer that is worsening or getting bigger

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