Font Size: Increase | Decrease

Why do I need to get an ultrasound for varicose veins?

This question was asked in Irvine, California and has 10 answer(s) as of 02/18/2013.
How does ultrasound help with varicose veins?


Doctors Answers (10)

Varicose veins can be by failure or dilation of the just the veins in the skin which are visible with the naked eye. This is less common. Or varicose veins can be caused by failure of the veins below the skin. This is more common and can only be detected by an ultrasound test. It is important to rule out reflux, backward flow, in the superficial veins below the skin before treating the ones in the skin. The main superficial vein below the skin is the saphenous vein.

It will tell you if you have venous insufficiency . It will give the dimensions of the vein and act as a map to tell if you are a candidate for minimally invasive procedures. It also helps tell where the problems source is,which veins are affected and will guide the best treatment options.

Ultrasound is a technology that uses sound waves to create sounds and/or images. I use a hand held device called a doppler probe. It is used to listen to the sounds of blood vessels. Normal veins have a forward flow sound when they are squeezed. When they are varicose, there is two way flow. If I hear two way flow sounds, then I order a duplex ultrasound that both generates sounds and images. This is the same machine that produces pictures of a fetus developing in the womb. Also, if I have a strong suspicion of something going wrong in a patient's veins that I can't hear with a doppler, then I will order a duplex ultrasound. The main reason to use ultrasound is to get a better understanding of what is going on in a patient's veins. In addition, this technology can be used to guide needles/fibers inside veins which are used to treat varicose vein disease.

Ultrasound maps the underlying source of varicose veins allowing it to be targeted for treatment for more durable results.

Ultrasound evaluation is the "gold standard" for evaluating the anatomy and functioning of the leg veins, both to determine the extent of the problem and in developing a treatment plan.

Ultrasound has become the gold standard for evaluating varicose veins and basically gives your provider "x-ray vision" to see what's going on with the veins under the skin. This allows your doctor, and insurance company, to have a measurable (objective) view to see how your veins actually are. Vein doctors usually use ultrasound to look for several specific things about your veins. 7 of those things are listed here. 1) The ultrasound can determine if there is reflux in your veins. Blood in your leg veins is supposed to flow toward your heart, however, if the blood is flowing "backwards" in the leg veins toward your feet, that's called reflux. The ultrasound can also measure the 2) size of the vein, 3) the location and 4) course of the vein, and can also see the 5) source of abnormal branches. It can also look for 6) blood clots in the vein. 7) The ultrasound can also be used as a guide to safely access a vein under the skin if that vein needs to be treated with injections or laser. Ultrasound has become a very important part of evaluating varicose veins and these days, it would be difficult to manage leg veins without it.

The only way to confirm the diagnosis of varicose vein disease cause (reflux) is by ultrasound. There are no other medical tests / exams which can do so as efficiently and specifically In addition, ultrasound allows the treating physician to pre-plan his/her treatment options and to rule out other concomitant conditions (eg: deep vein blood clot..)

Excellent question. Think of an ultrasound to diagnose varicose veins as you would an x-ray to diagnose a broken bone. In both instances, you cannot see the problem, confirm the diagnosis, and come up with a treatment plan without this important diagnostic tool.

The ultrasound can determine if the valves in the vein are functioning properly if not then there is venous valvular reflux and that leads to venous hypertension. The involved segment of vein has to be removed(stripped) or closed (endovenous laser ablation) to stop the reflux.

A color duplex ultrasound exam is essential to understand the veins under the surface of the skin. All patients who have any soft tissue leg pain, tenderness, swelling, or varicose veins need to be studied to determine whether there may be failure of valves in the veins or whether there is evidence of obstruction or clot in the veins of the legs. It is critical to know this information in order to make decisions about proper treatment. The only patients who do not require venous ultrasound study are those with tiny spider veins (telangiectasia) and no pain, tenderness, or swelling.

Disclaimer: The information found on this website is intended to be general medical information; it is not a medical diagnosis or medical advice. Specific medical advice can only be given with full knowledge of all of the facts and circumstances of your health situation. You should seek consultation with a doctor familiar with your medical condition. Posting a question on this website does not create a doctor-patient relationship. All questions you post will be available to the public; do not include confidential information in your question.