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Chronic Leg Swelling


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You may experience repeated swelling in your legs for a wide variety of reasons. It may result from blood clots in your legs, taking certain medications, sitting too long, or a condition that affects how your blood flows. Chronic leg swelling is also associated with varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency.

Because chronic leg swelling can have many serious causes and complications, it is important you see a physician if you leg swelling is affecting your daily activities or causes pain. At University of Miami Health System, our team of expert specialists work together to discover the cause of your leg swelling and find the right treatment for your needs.


History and Physical Exam
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and check your legs for swelling and other symptoms.

An ultrasound is a noninvasive imaging test that uses sound waves to create images of the blood flow in your legs.

A computed tomography (CT) angiogram or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) angiogram of the legs are scans of the arteries in the legs using contrast injected into an arm vein. They show how and where your blood flows.


You may be able to take certain medicines to treat causes of chronic leg swelling, such as heart problems or kidney problems. However, medicines alone may not be enough to treat leg swelling if it is caused by a blood clot in your vein known as a deep venous thrombosis (DVT). 

Interventional radiologists can treat recent or old blood clots in your legs. Through a small incision, they can insert a catheter into the affected vein and use medications to immediately break down the clot. They then can use balloons and stents to open up the previously closed vein.

Leg swelling can also be caused by varicose veins and venous insufficiency. Swelling is often associated with symptoms of burning, aching, or a heavy feeling in the legs. Swelling is more likely to affect people who stand more for work, such as hair stylists, factory workers, teachers and house cleaners.

Interventional radiologists can treat varicose veins and venous insufficiency. Through a catheter placed in a small incision, they can close the affected veins with heat. Also, an interventional radiologist injects sclerotherapy to close the varicose veins. Additionally, an interventional radiologist can perform a minor surgical procedure called phlebectomy to remove the abnormal varicose veins.

These procedures have a fast recovery time, often allowing you to go home the same day as your procedure. After these treatments, leg swelling should go down within a few days or weeks.

Why Choose UHealth?

Expert care from highly trained interventional radiologists. Our interventional radiologists and radiology specialists are experts in a variety of minimally invasive procedures — everything from treatments to clear blocked blood vessels to advanced cancer therapies like NanoKnife®.

Leading-edge imaging care in South Florida. Our doctors are also researchers discovering new ways to improve diagnosis and treatment. That means you can get some of today’s most promising advancements through clinical trials. You benefit from the latest developments that are fast-tracked from the lab to the bedside.

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