Richard Evans - Vascular Surgeon
Private Service, Vascular Surgery
Vascular ulcers are open wounds on the skin of the legs that do not heal or that keep coming back after they have healed. Ulcers may be caused by infection, minor trauma or pressure on the skin. They may progress because there is not enough blood being supplied through the arteries to heal the ulcers. Leg ulcers may also be caused by leg oedema (fluid) or varicose veins.
Arterial or ischaemic ulcers are typically the result of atherosclerosis or 'hardening of the arteries’ (a build up of fatty deposits on the inner wall of arteries). When the arteries become narrowed, the flow of blood to the tissues is reduced. These ulcers are usually found on the toes, heels or lower legs and are often painful. Treatment for arterial ulcers may involve angioplasty and stents or bypass surgery.
Venous ulcers occur when impaired blood flow in the veins causes pooling of blood in the legs. These ulcers are often associated with varicose veins. Venous ulcers are usually found on the lower leg between the knee and the ankle and the leg is often swollen and discoloured. Compression or pressure bandages are the main treatment for venous ulcers although surgery may be required in some patients.