Vein Disease Diagnosis

Vein disorders are not always visible; therefore, modern vein disease diagnosis requires diagnostic techniques and tools in determining the cause and severity of the problem. Depending on the results of your screening examination, we may recommend additional tests such as diagnostic ultrasound to identify where and how badly your veins are damaged. The ultrasound examination is designed to evaluate the blood flow through your veins in your legs, localizing the problem areas.

What Is A Diagnostic Ultrasound?

Diagnostic Ultrasound is a non-invasive test which allows evaluation of structures below the skin surface. It is the test of choice for evaluating vein problems. The ultrasound is performed in our office by a Registered Vascular Ultrasound Technician (RVT). Warmed ultrasound gel is applied to the leg, then the ultrasound probe is moved up and down to examine the deep and superficial leg veins. Images are taken first to map out the anatomy and rule out blood clots in the veins. Note will be made of what deeper veins the surface varicose veins connect to in order to plan the best treatment approach. These images are created by sound waves and no radiation is involved in the exam.

Once the anatomy has been evaluated, the function of the veins is checked. This involves squeezing the legs to force the blood forward through the veins and seeing if the valves close properly. When the valves are working, the blood simply stops after the squeeze is released. When the valves are incompetent, the blood flows back down toward the feet and refills the veins. This is called reflux.

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How Does Venous Ultrasound Work?

Ultrasound imaging involves the use of a small transducer or handpiece. Ultrasound gel is placed on the skin and the transducer is then placed directly on the skin. The transducer transmits high-frequency sound waves through the gel into the body. The transducer collects the sounds that bounce back and a computer then makes sense of those sound waves and creates an image. These images are captured in real-time, meaning they can show blood flowing through the vessels Dr. Sun is examining.

Unlike the ionizing radiation used to create x-rays, sound waves do not have any radiation. The body is not affected in any way by sound wave energy, so there is no risk of radiation exposure. Venous ultrasound has no risks and no side effects.

Who Is a Candidate for Venous Ultrasound?

Dr. Sun uses these diagnostic tests for patients with these symptoms or conditions:

  • Swelling or redness of a limb
  • Chronic venous insufficiency
  • Vascular malformations
  • Varicose veins
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Superficial thrombophlebitis

How Long Does a Diagnostic Ultrasound Take?

This is not an involved process. Venous ultrasounds take just 30-45 minutes or so.

Is Diagnostic Ultrasound Painful?

These are utterly non-invasive, painless treatments. The diagnostic energy used is sound waves, which have no adverse effects on the human body. Ultrasound has been used for decades to monitor the health of the developing fetus during pregnancy among other uses.

Is There Any Preparation Necessary Before My Venous Ultrasound?

The only thing you’ll want to do is wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to your appointment. There aren’t any restrictions for eating or drinking.

Can I Drink Water Before My Ultrasound?

You can eat and drink normally. You may have heard you have to fast or not drink water, but that is only for ultrasounds conducted on the abdominal area. Those restrictions don’t apply to ultrasound diagnosis of the leg veins.

What Are Some Common Uses of Venous Ultrasound?

The most common reason Dr. Sun requests a venous ultrasound is to search for blood clots in the leg veins. This condition, deep vein thrombosis, can create clots that can break off and pass into the lungs where they can cause a dangerous condition called pulmonary embolism.

These are other uses of these effective tests at Sun Vein & Vascular:

  • To find the causes of leg swelling, as evidenced by the repeated formation of varicose veins. Through ultrasound, we can find the damaged vein valves that are allowing backflow.
  • To provide guidance for the placement of a catheter into a vein for radiofrequency ablation and foam sclerotherapy.
  • To map out the veins to find pieces that may be used to bypass a narrowed or blocked blood vessel.

What Are the Benefits of Using Ultrasound Versus Other Diagnostic Tools?

Venous ultrasound is a great diagnostic tool. It has no risks or harmful effects on humans. Here are some reasons we love this diagnostic tool at Sun Vein & Vascular:

  • Ultrasound is noninvasive, no needles or injections are required.
  • Ultrasound is painless.
  • Ultrasound is easy-to-use and less expensive than CT scans and the like.
  • Ultrasound images are superior to x-rays for seeing soft tissues, such as veins.
  • Ultrasound provides real-time images, so we can see blood flowing through the veins in question.
  • Venous ultrasound allows us to see blood clots in the legs before they dislodge.

How Soon Will I See the Results from My Ultrasound?

Dr. Sun examines your ultrasound immediately and discusses what she finds with you.

Are There Other Ways to Diagnose Vein Disease Besides Venous Ultrasound?

Venous ultrasound is by far the most used diagnostic test for problems with leg veins. In some cases, however, more detailed images are necessary. These more involved diagnostic tests can also be used for vascular problems in the legs:

  • Magnetic resonance venogram — This is a type of MRI scan that uses radio waves to provide images of veins in the legs. It can detect blood flow and obstructions deep in the legs.
  • CT venogram — A CT venogram uses a series of X-rays and computer software to detect blood flow and clots in the deep veins of the legs.
  • Venogram — A venogram uses X-rays and a contrast dye to create images of leg veins. This type of venogram is used less frequently than the two options listed above.

Schedule A Consultation Visit

We have many years of experience and are able to identify the cause of vein incompetence in all of our patients. Our providers perform the physical examinations and then correlate symptoms, physical examination findings, and the ultrasound analysis to make the proper diagnosis and treatment recommendations. During your initial consultation, it is very important to us that you have time to review the ultrasound scan with your provider. We will also review your history, symptoms, and initial exam to determine the next steps for evaluation.

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Tuesday: 7:30am - 5:00pm
Wednesday: 7:30am - 4:30pm
Thursday: 7:00am - 4:30pm
Friday: 7:00am - 12:00nn
Sat and Sun: Closed

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