Leg swelling is a common symptom in patients with advanced vein reflux disease and lymphedema. At Houston Vein Specialists in Houston, Texas, expert board-certified vascular surgeon David D. Shin, MD, RVT, RPVI, FACS, can find the root cause of your leg swelling and recommend a personalized plan to provide relief. Call the office to make your appointment today.
Leg swelling refers to swelling anywhere from your thighs to your ankles. Many people experience lower leg swelling, particularly at or below the calves. Leg swelling often appears alongside issues such as varicose veins, skin discoloration, or leg wounds.
Untreated, leg swelling can cause significant discomfort and increase your risk of infections and nonhealing wounds (ulcers).
Leg swelling often occurs because of:
Venous reflux is when diseased or damaged vein valves allow blood to seep back into the leg veins. This condition leads to varicose veins, itching, burning, leg tiredness, and often leg swelling. Advanced (late-stage) saphenous vein reflux is particularly likely to cause leg swelling.
Lymphedema occurs when the body’s lymphatic system doesn’t drain fluid as normal, due to lymph node or vessel damage or blockage. This condition leads to fluid buildup and swelling that most often affects the legs.
Venous reflux and lymphedema both cause leg swelling and often occur together, but they require different treatment approaches.
At Houston Vein Specialists, Dr. Shin starts with a comprehensive medical history, physical exam, and ultrasound evaluation to find the specific veins causing your leg swelling. He recommends a treatment path based on your specific situation. Common approaches are:
Venous reflux treatment generally involves eliminating the unhealthy veins causing your leg swelling. Common approaches include vein ablation and vein closure using medical-grade adhesive. Phlebectomy (surgical vein removal using tiny incisions) may be an option.
Lymphedema treatment involves leg elevation, exercise, and wearing compression hosiery. Additionally, many patients need pneumatic compression, which involves you wearing a sleeve over the affected leg.
A pump inflates the sleeve at specific intervals, a sensation similar to having your blood pressure taken. The compression prevents lymph fluid from accumulating in certain areas.
If you have venous reflux and lymphedema, you need both types of treatment to resolve your leg swelling. Following your treatment, Dr. Shin can recommend lifestyle measures to help you avoid future vein and lymph system problems.
Leg swelling can be uncomfortable and even debilitating, so it’s always best to treat it early. To get help with leg swelling, call Houston Vein Specialists to set up your consultation today.