Venous Insufficiency


When your leg veins cannot pump enough blood back to your heart, you have chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). CVI is also sometimes called chronic venous disease (CVD). CVI can also cause problems with varicose veins and leg swelling because of the pressure from blood pooling in the veins. 

To compensate for CVI, your lymphatic system may also produce fluid, called lymph. The leg tissues may then absorb some of this fluid, increasing the tendency for swelling.

Venous insufficiency affects up to 40% of the people in the U.S.

If you have CVI, your ankles may swell, and you may experience tightness in your calves. Plus, your legs may feel heavy, tired, restless, or achy. You can also have pain while walking or shortly after stopping.

Blood pressure that is higher than normal inside your leg veins is generally the cause of CVI. CVI can affect anyone, however, women older than 50 are more likely to develop this condition. Other factors that increase the risk for CVI include:

  • Being overweight

  • Family history of varicose veins

  • Lack of exercise

  • Smoking

  • Standing or sitting for long periods of time

Other causes of CVI involving elevated pressure and the obstruction of blood flow through the veins include phlebitis and deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT requires immediate medical attention.

CVI is usually not considered a serious health risk. Physician-recommended treatment will focus on decreasing the pain and disability that comes with the condition.

Ablation – Ablation uses a catheter (thin, flexible tube) inserted into a varicose vein. Tiny electrodes at the tip of the catheter heat the walls of your varicose vein and destroy the vein tissue. As with chemical sclerotherapy, the treated vein is eventually absorbed by the body.

Ambulatory Phlebectomy – This procedure, also called small incision avulsion, allows your physician to remove individual varicose vein clusters from the leg through tiny incisions. This treatment can be done alone or together with vein stripping. 

Bypass – For more serious occurrences of CVI, bypass surgery using small incisions in the upper thigh or pelvis would be recommended. An artificial vein (graft) or a transplanted vein redirects blood flow around the blocked vein. There is a small risk of DVT and infection at incision points. 

Chemical Sclerotherapy – This treatment injects a chemical that irritates and scar the veins from the inside out so abnormal veins can no longer fill with blood. These damaged veins will eventually be absorbed by the body, and your blood will divert to other veins and continue flowing to the heart.

Compression Stockings – For mild cases of CVI, compression stockings are worn to squeeze the veins and stop excess blood from flowing backward. For many patients, compression stockings are an effective treatment and can help heal skin sores and prevent them from returning. 

Valve Repair – The valves inside your vein are shortened to improve valve function. After making a small incision, the surgeon cuts into the affected vein and then folds or tucks the valve flaps. A fabric sleeve may be placed around the outside of the affected vein to help press the vein walls together to maintain valve function.

Vein Stripping – The physician makes a small incision in the groin area and usually another incision in your calf below the knee. Then your physician disconnects and ties off all veins associated with the saphenous vein, the main superficial vein in your leg. Your physician then removes this vein from your leg. 

You can depend on the expert team of medical professionals at Vascular Tyler to help you determine your best treatment options, based on your test results. 

For questions or to schedule an appointment, contact us at 903.533.8702.


The Patient Experience

Dr. Robbins looked at my imaging and made an appointment that same day for me to come in. At Vascular Tyler, it’s just like a family environment every time I come in here. If I have to go the doctor’s (office), this is where I want to go.
L. Cunningham, Patient
We don’t want to spend a whole lot of time with rehabilitation or in some sort of medical facility, so it was great discovering that there’s only little or no downtime. It was a matter of hours instead of days or weeks.
B. Finch, Patient
I had excruciating pain and was told I needed a knee replacement. But Dr. Robbins said I just need vascular surgery. They gave me relief from my pain, and they’re kind and interested in you as a patient and a person. This is the place to come.
M. Finch, Patient

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