Vanishing Venous Disease

Leg wounds disappear at dedicated ulcer center.

For most of his career, David O’Keefe worked in an oil refinery in his native New Jersey. He was in charge of processing operations and ensuring the plant ran smoothly. His job required long hours of standing and frequent trips up and down ladders. After years of stress on his legs, he began having difficulty performing the duties of his job.
“I’ve always been active,” David reports. “I played rugby and other sports. But with that, work and just getting older, my legs eventually got to where I couldn’t stand for long periods of time. I certainly couldn’t climb ladders in the refinery, so they retired me.”

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

David is walking longer and biking farther
after vein treatment.

The heaviness and fatigue in David’s legs were just the beginning. Eventually, his legs began to swell and ache, and the veins in his legs became quite prominent.
“I developed varicose veins later on, and they were very painful,” David describes. “The pain affected my activities. I couldn’t cut the grass or anything like that. I couldn’t go shopping or walk the length of Fishermen’s Village without having to sit down.
“I kept riding my bicycle because that was my primary exercise. I just rode through the pain, then I would get home and have to sit with my legs up for a good hour. We have a pool, so I soaked in that after a bicycle ride as well.
“Over time, my legs became increasingly swollen and painful, and as the years went on, I ended up with an open wound on my left leg.”
David initially sought help for the problem from his primary care physician, who suspected the issue might be a sign of a problem with David’s leg veins. That physician referred David to Douglas H. Joyce, DO, of Joyce Vein & Aesthetic Institute in Punta Gorda. Dr. Joyce is a skilled vein specialist who combines compassion and expertise to treat patients with venous disease.
“Dr. Joyce explained that I had a condition called venous insufficiency,” David recalls. “The blood wasn’t moving out of my leg veins toward my heart because the check valves in the veins weren’t working properly. The blood was spilling back in my legs and going where it shouldn’t go, causing the pain, swelling and wound.

“I’m exceedingly happy. The swelling in my left leg is down remarkably. . . . I don’t have any pain at all now, and I can do pretty much everything that was impossible before.” – David

“I told Dr. Joyce that I had a doctor one time who told me he could fix my legs with an amputation, which didn’t sound very good. He just cringed and said, We don’t do that anymore. That made me feel much better. With Dr. Joyce, I was very relaxed.”
At Joyce Vein & Aesthetic Institute, venous disease is not treated with amputations or even vein stripping, a procedure during which the problem veins are forcibly removed from the leg. Instead, Dr. Joyce uses advanced, minimally invasive treatments to close leaking veins and return circulation to proper working order.
“Our approach is to start with ultrasound mapping of the legs,” notes Dr. Joyce. “We identify any veins that are not working correctly and then use a procedure to divert the blood away from those veins. We close them so that blood only runs through veins that are working properly.”

The Exercise Effect

“David is a very athletic guy who loves to ride his bicycle but was experiencing a lot of pain with exercise, along with swelling,” says Dr. Joyce. “Pain with exercise is a high indicator that there’s a problem in the leg veins that can lead to other, major problems, including leg wounds, or venous ulcers. When David came in, he had a longstanding ulcer on his left leg.”
Dr. Joyce explains that leg veins are like a ladder, with one side being the high-pressure deep veins and the other the low-pressure superficial veins. The perforator veins are the rungs in between. The perforators have valves that keep blood flowing from the low-pressure veins to the high-pressure veins.
“If those valves aren’t working properly, the blood goes from the high-pressure side over to the low-pressure side,”
Dr. Joyce informs. “When it does, it hits the veins under the skin at one point, so the pressure at that spot becomes extremely high. This can lead to skin breakdown and ulcers.”
Dr. Joyce notes that exercise accentuates the movement of blood from the deep veins to the superficial veins. When people ride a bike, run, work out on a stair-stepper or do a similar exercise, they pump significant amounts of blood out of the legs up toward the heart.

“I know this disease. Let me help you remove it from your life.”-Dr. Joyce

“When people exercise, the muscles where the deep veins are located work harder and pump more blood through the deep veins,” confirms Dr. Joyce. “When there are abnormal perforator veins, more blood gets forced backward into the superficial veins. This extra blood can damage the superficial veins and the surrounding skin. The skin eventually breaks down, and patients can end up with venous ulcers.”
At Joyce Vein & Aesthetic Institute, Dr. Joyce concentrates the treatment of leg ulcers from venous disease in The Ulcer Center at JVAI. There, Dr. Joyce uses leading-edge procedures and state-of-the-art technology to treat patients and give them the best chance at a positive outcome.
“At The Ulcer Center at JVAI, we correct everything that’s wrong in the leg veins so that on the follow-up ultrasound, veins that were not working properly are gone. The patients are left with an efficient system for draining blood out of the legs. That’s why our patients experience such significant improvement.”
Dr. Joyce is a pioneer in treating all of the causes of venous disease of the leg. He has even developed several treatment techniques, including single-needle laser ablation. This procedure is a noninvasive method of sealing the diseased veins responsible for advanced venous conditions. This is the procedure he used to treat the ulcer on David’s leg.

Everything Is Possible

After his treatment at Joyce Vein & Aesthetic Institute, David had a near total turnaround in his condition. He’s still in the healing stages, but he’s very pleased with his outcome so far.
“I’m exceedingly happy,” raves David. “The swelling in my left leg is down remarkably. I’m almost to a normal size leg, and the wound is healing. It went from two and a half inches to three quarters of an inch down to about a quarter of an inch. I don’t have any pain at all now, and I can do pretty much everything that was impossible before.
“Now, I’m able to walk aimlessly at Fishermen’s Village, which is a pretty big accomplishment for me. I can go to the store and shop, and I don’t have to sit down. I forgot what it felt like to stand and walk without pain. Life is a lot easier when you can walk well.”
David never gave up his bicycle, but now, he can ride long distances without pain in his legs. He’s taking advantage of that. Now that his legs are feeling better, he rides 15 to 20 miles every day and enjoys it. He’s grateful for Dr. Joyce and his single-needle laser ablation technique.
“I’ve already recommended Dr. Joyce and Joyce Vein and Aesthetic Institute to people I know who have similar conditions, even to those who don’t live in this state,” David enthuses. “I tell them what Dr. Joyce’s treatment did for me. It changed my life!”

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