Treating Venous Stasis Ulcers
When the veins in the legs have problems sending blood back to the heart, it’s said that there is “vein insufficiency.” This can lead to blood pooling in the lower legs, causing the skin to become hard, bumpy or turn dark brown in color. As a result, skin sores, or ulcers, can develop and can become chronic, long-term problems.
“The treatment for venous stasis ulcers for years was the compression wrap with layers of dressings,” says Jody Pienta, Director of The Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Palmdale Regional Medical Center. “This would heal the wounds but only temporarily. The skin would usually break down again because the underlying condition wasn’t being addressed."
Today, many patients with venous stasis ulcers can be treated with a procedure called vein ablation, which uses radio frequency waves.
“We heat up the wall of the unhealthy vessel, literally closing down the vein,” says Pienta. “The blood is therefore redirected to healthy veins.”
Pienta says she has seen cases where patients who have been scheduled for a limb amputation were able to avoid it with ablation treatment.
The Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine has several hyperbaric oxygen chambers for treating conditions such as diabetic foot ulcers, compromised surgical flaps, osteomyelitis, late effects of radiation treatment and burns.
Advanced technology is used to accelerate healing and aid in wound closure.
“We have the advanced treatments here, and the physicians are certified in wound care,” says Pienta. “Plus we follow the latest advancements in surgical debridement, which is removal of unhealthy tissue. This very important step is vital in promoting healing.”