If you are suffering from recurrent venous leg ulcers, you should discuss with your vein specialist regarding compression therapy. The treatment involves the use of specialized elastic or inelastic stockings, bandages, and upholstery to exert pressure on the legs to improve blood flow towards the heart.
Compression therapy is usually the first course of treatment for venous insufficiency or venous reflux, which is claimed to affect about 50 percent of the population. If properly applied, this treatment has been proven to improve healing rates in patients with venous leg ulcers (VLUs) and reduce ulcer recurrence.
First, it is important to note that there are three kinds of veins in the body: deep veins located between muscle groups and carry most of the blood to the heart; superficial veins found just below the skin; and perforating veins that connect the superficial veins to the deep veins. All leg veins contain valves to prevent blood from flowing backwards.
Venous insufficiency occurs when the valves do not function properly, reducing the efficiency of the veins to carry blood back to the heart and allowing blood to flow backwards towards the legs. Valve malfunction occurs due to damage to vein wall or from venous thrombosis.
Compression bandages work by exerting pressure on the superficial veins to push blood into the deep veins. This facilitates blood delivery to the heart from the legs. This reduces the pooling effect of blood in superficial veins that manifests as inflammation and swelling. However, prior to initiating compression therapy, you must discuss with your physician whether it is the right treatment for you.
Compression therapy is often recommended following ablation, sclerotherapy and phlebecotmy.
The compression systems used can contain both elastic and inelastic materials. Typical multi-layer systems operate as inelastic systems, though they contain primarily elastic components. Inelastic bandages have greater stiffness than elastic bandages, which is measured by assessing the pressure at the interface between the skin and the treatment when the patient is lying down and standing (static stiffness index – SSI). The difference between these two measurements is the SSI.
Effective compression treatment is achieved by accurately applying the bandage system to provide sufficient compression at rest and still work effectively when moving. All compression systems provide this, so your choice of bandage and hosiery system depends on your preference and specialist recommendation.
While compression treatments are highly effective, they are not recommended for patients suffering from peripheral arterial disease (PAD) as it can cause gangrene, loss of the leg, and even heart failure. As such, consult Dr. Haimesh Shah to determine if compression stockings or compression therapy are right for you.
To learn more, please call our office @ 1.844.77.VEINS or conveniently contact us online here.
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