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Stenting for Venous Obstruction

Malfunctioning valves in our leg veins can lead to problems with varicose veins. But another problem, venous obstruction, can occur in these leg veins, as well. Dr. Heeringa treats this impeded blood flow in these veins with venous stenting. 

What causes chronic venous obstruction? 

The standard treatment of deep vein thrombosis in the legs is the use of anticoagulants. This can break down the clot, but this can also cause the formation of scar tissue in the vein. This happens if the clot doesn’t fully dissolve. Now there is some obstruction in the vein. 

A second way this occurs is with stenosis in the leg veins. This narrowing of the veins typically occurs in the pelvis where the iliac arteries cross the veins. This is also known as May-Thurner Syndrome, where the iliac vein is compressed by the right iliac artery. The arteries can compress veins in other areas as well. The result is obstruction in the vein. 

What are the symptoms with venous obstruction? 

When a patient has venous obstruction, this decreases flow in important legs veins. This leads to leg swelling, edema, a feeling of heaviness in the legs, leg fatigue, varicose veins, and venous ulceration. 

How is venous obstruction treated? 

Dr. Heeringa is the first physician in Northern Michigan to use venous stenting to correct areas of obstruction in leg veins. The treatment method formerly was to bypass the area of blockage with surgery. Placing a stent is much less invasive for the patient. 

After diagnosing the condition with the use of intravenous ultrasound, the area to be treated is injected with local anesthetic. Dr. Heeringa then places a needle into one of the veins of the lower leg. This is followed by a wire that is passed up the vein to the area where the blockage is located. X-ray guidance provides Dr. Heeringa visuals of the blockage and the location of the wire. A catheter is then passed up the wire into the area of the blockage. It has a balloon attached to it. The balloon is inflated at the area of the obstruction, pushing the vein back to its normal width and re-opening normal flow. To ensure the vein remains open, a stent, a braided metal tube, is then opened in that area. The stent acts like a scaffold, keeping the vein open by adding structural support to the vein walls. 

Stenting to correct venous obstruction is very successful and much easier for the patient. 

If you have any of the symptoms described above, please give us a call at Northern Michigan Vein Specialists, (231) 946-1488.

Posted in: Venous Stenting

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