Vein conditions can be a challenge. For the person with spider veins or the symptoms of varicose veins or other vein problems, the challenge may be to understand their symptoms and discern when they should see a doctor. It is a challenge to have unsightly veins because they’re impossible to hide if you want to wear shorts or a bathing suit. Vein problems are also challenging because they can make it uncomfortable to stand or walk for a period of time or to sit for a period of time. For the doctor, vein conditions are challenging simply because they are happening inside of the body, beneath the skin, where the naked eye cannot see them. Hence, the primary reason that ultrasound imaging is such a vital aspect of vein care.
How Does Venous Ultrasound Work?
An ultrasound exam enables a doctor to observe specific organs and structures. It is ultrasound technology that is used to monitor the growth of a developing fetus. In our specialty, ultrasound provides us with real-time imaging of venous health. The test works by emitting high-frequency sound waves into an area of interest. For venous insufficiency, ultrasound is most often done on the lower extremities. During the exam, the high-frequency waves that are emitted travel inward until they meet some type of structure. A venous ultrasound sends the sound waves toward the veins. When the waves meet the veins, their frequencies change, and this change is translated to the ultrasound device as an image that is displayed on a screen. The images that are captured by the technologist may show characteristics of the veins such as their size, where they intersect, and where they branch off. The test can also see blockages, reflux, and failing valves.
What Happens During a Venous Ultrasound?
Having diagnostic imaging can be stressful if you don’t know what to expect. Ultrasound exams are completely painless. They are non-invasive, involving the use of a wand-like applicator. To start, the technician applies a water-soluble gel to the area they will examine. The gel not only allows the applicator to glide smoothly over the skin but also acts as a conduit, directing sound waves into the body with great efficiency. The handheld applicator is pressed gently against the skin and moved to observe all venous structures in the area. The technician may pause at times to capture images or make notes on the computer. During the 30 to 45 minute screening, the patient may stand up for some time and lie down for some. This change in position provides a more comprehensive view of all veins in the legs. It also demonstrates the difference in blood flow from a standing to a lying position. The technician may also gently press on the leg to observe how compression affects blood flow.
Is an Ultrasound Necessary for Vein Treatment?
It may not be necessary to get a venous ultrasound. The use of this diagnostic screening is dependent on the findings of our intake exam. Sometimes, the signs of venous reflux are very localized and obvious, such as clusters of spider veins around the knees. Other conditions, such as aching, burning, itching, or skin discoloration with no visible signs of varicose veins, require a closer look. A vein specialist recommends ultrasound imaging when they believe it will help ensure the best possible care.
For more information on our vein treatment services, contact our Dallas practice at (214) 556-8880. We are proud to provide professional care in a friendly environment.