Varicose Veins/Venous Ultrasound
The incidence of venous disease has been estimated to surpass that of cardiac disease and stroke. Ultrasound of the venous system in the legs is used to diagnosis varicose veins and venous thrombus (clot) which may then cause pulmonary embolism (clot in the lungs).
Varicose veins involve the superficial venous system. This condition is caused when the valves in the vein fail and allow blood to travel backwards and pool in the lower legs. The superficial vessel becomes enlarged and visible under the skin. Many people seek medical treatment because the vessel is unsightly and cosmetically troubling. However, over time this condition allows excess fluid to accumulate in the leg which can lead to discoloration of the skin and worst case scenario, ulcers. Many people also will have symptoms of leg pain, heaviness, swelling, burning or itching of the leg. Many providers utilize Sound Health Imaging to map the venous system prior to treatment. Please contact our office for more information.
When a clot in a vein detaches itself from the wall of the vessel and travels to the pulmonary arteries in the lungs, it can block any portion of the pulmonary vessels causing severe damage or death. In order to prevent a PE (pulmonary embolism) an ultrasound of the veins in the lower leg is considered urgent if a blood clot is suspected. If the ultrasound is positive for a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) the patient is given anticoagulants in hopes of preventing a PE. The diagnosis of DVT based on physical examination has proved to be one of the most difficult for the healthcare provider. Fortunately, ultrasound is readily available and easily tolerated by the patient. Therefore, if a patient is suspected of having a clot the clinician will request an ultrasound of the leg.
Frequently Asked Questions about Venous Procedures
Where do these ropy varicose veins come from?
The veins deep inside your leg have little valves that snap shut allowing blood to pass one direction back to the heart. When these valves stop working, the blood begins to back up in the vein causing the vein to enlarge and become “ropy” and visible under the skin.
Why do I need vein mapping before my doctor schedules me for the laser procedure?
Your doctor is suspicious that you have incompetent valves or venous insufficiency causing your varicose veins. The vein mapping will allow for a definitive diagnosis. During the pre-laser ultrasound the deep system will be also evaluated for any abnormalities.
Why do I need another ultrasound after the laser treatment?
This ultrasound exam will evaluate the affect of the laser on the veins treated. It will also check the deep system for any abnormality following the procedure.
Why do you have to press so hard during the venous ultrasound exam?
Compression of the vessel is a diagnostic maneuver we employ to evaluate for a clot in the vein of your leg. Veins can be compressed when we press on your leg with the transducer. Compression means we make the inner edges of the vein touch each other. If we press and cannot make them touch, we are very suspicious about a clot being present in that location. This is much like having a rock in a garden hose, you can flatten a hose everywhere, but you will never make the hose compress where a rock or clot is located.
How do I schedule my ultrasound appointment at Sound Health Imaging?
You have a choice where your ultrasound is done. Tell your healthcare provider that you would like to have your ultrasound scheduled at Sound Health Imaging. Or you can call our office and make your ultrasound appointment and then bring your Doctor’s order with you at the time of exam.
Are you a network provider for Blue Cross and Blue Shield and New West Insurance companies?
Yes, we are premium providers for both Blue Cross and New West and bill all major insurances including Medicaid and Medicare.
Is the Radiologist who reads the exam a network provider?
Sound Health Imaging contracts with Capital Radiology to interpret the ultrasound exams. We pay the radiologist for the interpretation, so the patient does not get a second bill from interpreting physician.