A recent New England Journal of Medicine study demonstrated that early endovenous ablation in cases of venous ulcers was associated with a significantly shorter time to healing and longer ulcer-free time.
So, what does that all mean? To best understand the impact of this research on the general public and how medical professionals approach treatment, it’s first important to understand what venous ulcerations are.
What are venous ulcers?
Leg ulcers (sometimes referred to as venous stasis ulcers) may appear due to a variety of causes, the most common cause being faulty veins. This affects approximately 1% of people in the United States. Open ulcers can last from weeks to many years. Left untreated, severe complications can occur such as skin or bone infection and even cancer.
It’s estimated that approximately 80% of these wounds are caused by poorly functioning veins and chronic venous disease. Research indicates that chronic venous disease is actually the most prevalent chronic disease in the United States, affecting more than 175 million Americans. This exceeds the second most prevalent chronic disease, cardiovascular disease, which affects 85.6 million.
Successfully healing venous ulcers requires treatment of the underlying problem—chronic venous disease–not simply the topical, visible ulcer itself.
What’s the best way to treat venous ulcers?
According to the recent research, the best way to treat venous ulcers is to treat the underlying vein problems causing the ulcers with a combination of compression therapy and early ablation intervention.
Compression therapy: This is a simple and effective method for helping to increase blood flow in the lower limbs. Specialized stockings or “medical compression socks” are used in compression therapy.
Early ablation intervention: Ablation treatments are minimally-invasive procedures that close down abnormal veins, ultimately redirecting blood flow to healthy veins. There are several kinds of ablation therapy, including: thermal ablation (endovenous laser ablation or radiofrequency ablation) as well as non-thermal ablation.
While this isn’t new news to the experts at Miller Vein, we are thrilled that the medical community has conducted meaningful research that confirms what we know and tell our patients: chronic venous disease is a medical condition which can progress and cause painful complications such as leg ulcers…and the best way to get relief is through early diagnosis and treatment.