Chronic Venous Insufficiency Care
Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), also known as chronic venous disease (CVD), occurs when the valves in your legs no longer regulate bloodflow back up to your heart adequately. Symptoms of CVI include leg and ankle swelling, pain and discomfort, and darkening of the skin. CVI can lead to spider veins, painful varicose veins, and sometimes severe conditions like skin sores and ulcers.
Treatments for CVI
There are many non-invasive and almost pain-free treatments to manage the symptoms and conditions caused by CVI. Your doctor will determine which options are right for you.
- Compression stockings are a common first-step to treat your discomfort from CVI by squeezing your veins and helping them move blood up into your heart.
- Sclerotherapy is a non-invasive and almost pain-free in-office procedure where your doctor injects a liquid or foam chemical into your vein to make it shrink, collapse, and eventually dissolve.
- Endovenous thermal laser ablation (EVLT) is a common and minimally-invasive procedure that uses a thin wire-like laser inserted into your vein to heat it from the inside and make it collapse and dissolve.
- Endovenous radiofrequency ablation (EVRA) is very similar to EVLT, but uses radiofrequency energy to heat the vein instead of laser energy.
- Ambulatory phlebectomy is a minimally-invasive procedure where your doctor makes small cuts along your problem vein and removes it piece-by-piece with a hook.
- Ligation and stripping is a procedure to tie-off and remove long veins in your leg through incisions in your ankle and groin. It is an invasive procedure that is now uncommon because modern treatments like EVLT and EVRA are more effective and less-invasive.
Causes and Diagnosis of CVI
Your veins have one-way valves in them that keep your blood moving up toward your heart. If these valves stop working properly, you can develop chronic venous insufficiency.
They can stop working due to heredity, high blood pressure, smoking, lack of exercise, or damage from blood clots.
To diagnose CVI, your doctor will evaluate your vein health using duplex ultrasound imaging or venogram X-ray imaging.
The cost of treating CVI can vary depending on your area, physician and insurance coverage. Generally, your health insurance may cover a treatment if your doctor determines that it is medically necessary, and is not just for cosmetic reasons.