Venous Insufficiency

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James G. McPherson, III, MD, MPH, FACS

Specializing In The Treatment of Cosmetic and Medical Vein Therapy

Dr. McPherson is board certified in general and cardiothoracic surgery and performs all aspects of adult cardiac, general thoracic and peripheral vascular surgery to treat Venous Insufficiency.


Venous insufficiency is a condition in which the venous wall or/and valves in the veins of your legs do not work efficiently. When the veins in your legs fail to carry the blood to the heart, the blood pools or collects in the veins. The pooling of the blood is known as stasis, which leads to chronic venous insufficiency.


What Causes Venous Insufficiency?

The arteries carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body, and the blood is brought back to the heart by the veins. Veins have valves that make sure that the blood does not flow backward. When your veins have trouble sending the blood to the heart from the limbs, it causes venous insufficiency.

There are several factors that cause this condition, the most common being varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots. Weakness in the leg muscles can squeeze the blood forward and contribute to venous insufficiency.

Who Is At Risk of Getting Venous Insufficiency?

The condition is more common in women than it is in men. It mostly affects individuals over the age of fifty. The risk factors include the following:

  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Muscle weakness, leg injury, or trauma
  • Cancer
  • Phlebitis (swelling of a superficial vein)
  • Family history of the condition
  • Sitting or standing for an extended period of time

Can You Inherit Venous Insufficiency?

Venous insufficiency can be inherited from your family, especially if your family has a history of blood clots.



What Are the Symptoms of Venous Insufficiency?

The symptoms include:

  • Swelling of the legs or ankles
  • Pain that gets worse while standing
  • A feeling of heaviness
  • Throbbing or aching legs
  • Thickening of the skin on the ankle or legs
  • A change in color of the skin, often near the ankle
  • A sense of tightness in the calves
  • Muscle spasms or leg cramps
  • Weak legs
  • Itchy legs
  • Hard-to-treat leg ulcers
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Varicose veins

The symptoms vary from person to person. You may experience one or a few of the symptoms. Contact us for a consultation if you are experiencing any of the symptoms.

How Is Venous Insufficiency Diagnosed?

Venous insufficiency is diagnosed by Dr. McPherson, who will first conduct a physical examination to eliminate the possibility of any other underlying conditions. After Dr. McPherson reviews your symptoms, you may need to undergo a venogram or duplex ultrasound to confirm.

How Is It Treated?

Many factors determine the optimal treatment for venous insufficiency. Your age, the symptoms, the severity of the condition, and tolerance towards medication and procedures are the factors considered by your doctor. Potential treatments include:

Why Does It Affect Women More Than Men?

Venous insufficiency affects women more than men because the condition is related to levels of the hormone progesterone in the body. Women have higher levels of this hormone.

Can Venous Insufficiency Be Prevented?

Regular exercise, a good diet, and a healthy body weight can lessen the chances of developing venous insufficiency, especially if you have a family history of this condition. Non-smokers also have a better chance of preventing it. However, there is no precise answer to whether it can be prevented altogether.

What causes leg swelling?

Leg swelling can be a sign of venous insufficiency, congestive heart failure, deep vein thrombosis or a compressed vein in the pelvis. The best way to make the diagnosis is an ultrasound. Often, in addition to the ultrasound, a special CT scan is needed to make the diagnosis. Untreated leg swelling can cause darkening of the skin (hyperpigmentation) and ulceration.


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Arrange Your Consultation

For a consultation regarding venous insufficiency and the treatment options we provide, contact Southern California Vein Center.

Your Venous Insufficiency treatment will be performed in Dr. McPherson’s surgery center located in Oxnard, CA, just outside of Ventura.

Contact Us (805) 988-2033


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