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If you’ve been diagnosed with chronic venous insufficiency, skin ulcers may be something you find to be an ongoing concern. A sore or wound that’s slow to heal can develop around the bony sections of your leg, such as your shins or ankles. Due to the greater pressure in your lower legs and feet, fluid and blood leak from your veins into the surrounding tissue. The extra fluid weakens the skin, causing it to break down.

Because your veins can’t circulate the blood as effectively, the nutrients and other healing agents that your body ordinarily sends to the site of a sore or wound fall short, meaning they don’t work as quickly or efficiently. If left untreated, these ulcers can lead to skin and bone infections. In rare cases, skin cancer may develop in chronic non-healing ulcers. Any wound that refuses to heal should be checked by your Manhattan vein doctor.

Risk Factors and Symptoms for Ulcers

Although anyone can get a leg ulcer at some point, you may be more susceptible than others. Risk factors include:

  • Aging, as veins and skin weaken
  • Gender, as women often have more circulatory problems — especially after pregnancies or hormone changes
  • Previous leg injuries that may have compromised your veins
  • Varicose veins
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Other circulatory problems such as blood clots or phlebitis

Skin ulcers are relatively easy to recognize. Some accompanying symptoms include:

  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Pain
  • Swollen legs
  • Rash or dry skin
  • Brownish discoloration
  • Foul-smelling pus oozing from your skin
  • Possible infection
  • Redness or swelling of the surrounding skin
  • Worsening pain
  • Fever

These symptoms indicate a need to seek medical treatment quickly to reduce the chance of long-term consequences. Your New York City doctor questions your medical history to determine the presence of any chronic conditions such as diabetes or hardening of the arteries. She conducts a physical exam and orders imaging tests such an ultrasound.

Treatment of Skin Ulcers

Most ulcers heal within three to four months with treatment, although some can take longer or remain an issue indefinitely. Treatments include any combination of the following:

  • Compression bandages or stockings
  • Elevating your legs whenever possible
  • Antibiotics if an infection is present
  • Platelet-rich fibrin matrix

Platelet-Rich Fibrin Matrix or PRFM

By understanding the healing potential of your platelets and plasma, scientists and doctors have developed a relatively new method for treating persistent skin ulcers. The healing agent comes from your own body, so all concerns regarding allergic reactions and the introduction of foreign substances are eliminated.

Your Manhattan vein doctor collects and isolates your blood platelets as you wait in NYC vein clinic. Spinning the collected specimen in a centrifuge, she separates the platelets and plasma from your red and white blood cells. Called platelet-rich plasma (PRP), this sample contains the growth and healing factors your body uses to heal and regenerate cells and tissue. A small amount of calcium chloride added to the PRP causes a chemical reaction that converts the fibrinogen into a stronger fibrin matrix.

Platelet-rich fibrin matrix is more stable than PRP alone. PRP is effective for a day whereas PRFM can deliver benefits for up to a week. It’s administered as an injection or placed onto the wound bed before you leave the office. It may be used in conjunction with other skin treatments, and you’ll most likely require multiple treatments for your ulcer therapy. You can return to work or normal activities immediately after the treatment.

Risks of PRFM

As with any medical procedure, some small risk factors should be noted:

  • Slight redness or bruising at the injection site occasionally happens.
  • Rarely, contamination can occur.

The increased healing applications far outweigh the rare possible side effects. PRFM is also being used to stimulate hair regrowth, reduce the appearance of acne scars, reduce under-eye discoloration and augment many other skin procedures.

Prevention Is Your Best Option

If you suffer from venous insufficiency and wish to prevent skin ulcers, seek out a local specialist. If you’ve treated an ulcer and wish to prevent a recurrence, your New York vein doctor highly recommends that you take preventive steps:

  • Adopt a high-fiber, low-sodium diet
  • Take any prescribed medication as recommended
  • Quit smoking
  • Lose weight
  • Control your blood pressure or diabetes if present
  • Take aspirin to prevent blood clots
  • Exercise regularly
  • Wear compression stockings
  • Elevate your legs whenever possible

Ulcer treatment can be effective, especially with the advances in medical science such as platelet-rich fibrin matrix. Understanding your options through discussions with your Manhattan vein doctor brings safe, essential treatments to your skin ulcers and returns your quality of life.