Capitol Vein Blog

Monday, September 30, 2013

Does Bruising Equal Blood Clot?

One of my Ashburn, Virginia patients recently came in with a rather extensive bruise and asked a very common question, "Does this mean I have a blood clot?"  Bruising from varicose veins is a rather frequent phenomenon, but generally does not indicate the presence of a blood clot.  While unsightly, bruising does not mean there is any long-term risk above those risks that accompany venous insufficiency.

Varicose veins are swollen, dilated veins on the leg surface. As the vein stretches, it becomes somewhat more fragile and more susceptible to injury. Sometimes a minor bump or insignificant event can cause one of these veins to develop a small puncture, allowing blood cells to escape. Of course, this small "leak" seals quickly, but the escaped blood causes the bruise. It's purple at the start, then eventually fades to a yellowish hue, and then disappears.

Varicose veins can cause a number of complications, such as blood clots, pain, skin discoloration/hyperpigmentation, and even venous stasis ulcers.  Surface blood clots, known as phlebitis, often present with a raised, tender, firm area.  While most clots do not present any long-term risk, surface clots that extend to the deep veins will require treatment to avoid potentially harmful events. 

If you experience bruising from varicose veins, we recommend seeking an evaluation of the underlying insufficiency so that other, more serious complications can be avoided. The Rethink Varicose Veins campaign is helpful in understanding your options. Initially, a duplex ultrasound is conducted to identify normal and abnormal veins that lead to increased pressure. Then we can select the best therapy to correct the flow imbalance and restore normal circulation. The Venefit Procedure is one of the time-tested methods to ablate the saphenous vein and restore normal flow, while microphlebectomy can also play a role in correcting venous insufficiency.

Our board certified physicians and experts in venous care, Garth Rosenberg, MD and Paul McNeill, MD, have many years of experience with these conditions.  They have also spoken nationally and internationally about the advanced treatment of venous disease. Evaluation and testing are available at any of our four vein centers in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia. Medical insurance often covers the cost of the treatment of varicose veins.

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