When reflux is left untreated over many years, the constant pressure may cause a leaking of inflammatory cells into the tissues. This causes brown staining of the skin is known as venous stasis changes and indicates that the venous insufficiency has become more severe.
If this process continues, a breakdown of the tissue may occur resulting in a venous stasis ulceration. Venous stasis ulcers are painful, and are chronic in nature with the ulcer reopening just when it appeared to be healed.
Venous stasis ulcers do not occur in all patients with varicose veins, and may occur in the absence of varicose veins. We cannot definitively predict who will go on to develop this complication. When skin changes begin to appear, the likelihood of ulceration increases. It is obviously better to treat the vein problems before this occurs. Once the ulcers do occur, treatment of the venous insufficiency will usually facilitate healing and reduce the incidence of recurrence.