Restless Leg Syndrome, also called RLS, is the irresistible urge to move the legs, usually accompanied by an uncomfortable sensation in the legs. Patients usually have symptoms in the evening and nighttime, interfering with their ability to rest and sleep. It has historically been treated with medications that require daily dosing. There is no definitive test for RLS; patients have been diagnosed based on their symptoms.
There is now evidence that many patients diagnosed with RLE may actually have undiagnosed venous insufficiency, a problem with the circulation of the legs. Venous insufficiency is caused when one or more veins in the legs fails to circulate blood back up towards the heart, against the force of gravity, allowing blood to pool in the legs. Patients often complain of cramping, leg heaviness and pain but doctors are now discovering that many patients with venous insufficiency have no symptoms other than those classically associated with RLS.
In one recent study 40% of patients with RLS had undiagnosed venous insufficiency. Patients with RLS who were identified as having underlying venous insufficiency experienced a 90% reduction in symptoms after a single in-office venous insufficiency treatment called endovenous ablation.
Venous insufficiency is diagnosed definitively with an ultrasound, a completely non-invasive test performed in the doctor’s office. Patients who test positive for venous insufficiency can be safely treated in the office using only local anesthesia and with no downtime.
“We see a number of patients who have undiagnosed venous insufficiency,” said Dr. Albert Malvehy, a vein specialist in Delray Beach. “Because I perform all my own ultrasounds and do all my treatments, we are able to give patients a definitive yes or no answer on their RLS and offer them options for laser treatment that didn’t exist ten years ago.”
Ultrasound diagnosis and laser treatment of venous insufficiency is covered by Medicare and major commercial insurance. Patients with RLS should speak with a vein specialist about their treatment options.
Vein Specialist in Delray Beach, FL
6140 West Atlantic Avenue
Delray Beach, FL 33484
1 (888) 357-DERM