A leg ulcer represents the most severe form of venous disease. The ulcers have a characteristic location in the middle part of the ankle, just above the ankle bone (medial malleolus). The reason the leg ulceration tends to form at this location is that this is usually the location of the highest venous pressure caused by venous insufficiency.
Once venous ulcers form, they usually take months to heal, even with proper treatment of the underlying vein insufficiency and wound treatment coordinated with other specialists.. Without treatment, the leg ulceration and damage to nearby tissue may linger indefinitely. If treatment of the vein insufficiency, the root cause, is not performed to reduce venous hypertension, the leg ulcers usually recur within 6 to 12 months.
As one can imagine, these ulcers have a very significant impact on quality of life. Their presence can lead to significant impact to social life and in some cases, disability including loss of a limb. Because of the extensive damage caused by the leg ulceration, they are also require significant health care expenses and dedication of time to doctor visits.
Leg ulcer treatment
At the San Francisco Vein center, we take venous ulcers very seriously. We take the time to find the underlying cause of the ulcer using vascular ultrasonography. We then formulate an individual plan of treatment, using radiofrequency ablation, compression therapy and dressings. When needed, surgery is performed. If infection is present, antibiotics are used. In severe cases, a skin graft to replace damaged tissue may be warranted, once the wound is stable.