Venous reflux disease, also known as valvular incompetency or venous insufficiency, is a condition that develops when the valves that usually keep blood flowing out of your legs become damaged or diseased. These valves that normally force blood back towards the heart no longer function, causing blood to pool up in the legs, and the veins to the legs become distended.
Venous reflux disease can occur in both the deep, superficial veins and perforating veins.
Superficial venous reflux is a condition affecting the one-way valves in the superficial veins (closer to the surface of the skin). The reflux, or back-flow of blood, causes the blood to pool in the leg.
Superficial venous reflux can cause spider veins, varicose veins, and if left untreated, lead to other conditions such as leg swelling (edema), skin changes (hyperpigmentation), and open sores (venous ulcers).
Common symptoms of superficial venous reflux include pain, swelling, leg heaviness and fatigue, as well as varicose veins in your legs.
Treatment for damaged or diseased valves in the superficial system is to remove or close the vein, then reroute the blood to healthy veins. VNUS Closure procedure, laser ablation, sclerotherapy, and microphlebectomy are some minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins and spider veins.
Perforator veins serve as connections between the deep and superficial of veins in the extremities. When the one-way perforator valves are not functioning correctly, reflux occurs, resulting in edema, skin discoloration, and skin ulcers. Like superficial veins that become incompetent, perforator veins can be treated. The ClosureRFS™ Stylet is the only endovenous device FDA specifically cleared for treatment of incompetent perforators.
Deep venous reflux occurs if the valves become damaged after a deep vein blood clot. This can lead to a condition called post phlebitic syndrome, characterized by leg pain, swelling, itchiness, dryness and eventually skin ulceration as a result of prolonged venous hypertension.
This condition is not reversible and there is no cure for it. The only and probably the most effective treatment for post phlebitic syndrome is to wear compression stockings for the rest of one’s life.