Quickly making its way through medicine, a vein ultrasound is an imaging tool that evaluates and diagnoses venous abnormalities such as deep vein thrombosis or venous insufficiency. A venous or vein ultrasound is a non-invasive, painless procedure that helps clinicians examine veins, giving real-time information about what is happening under the skin.
How does this tool work?
Unlike a CT scan that uses X-rays to image your veins, a vein ultrasound uses sound waves. A transducer produces a beam of sound which goes into the body and bounces off from the veins back to the receiver, eventually producing real-time images of your veins.
Why do you need a vein ultrasound?
This procedure helps health professionals get a clear view of your veins and can be used for the following purposes:
- Examine blood flow: A vein ultrasound might help identify any abnormality in blood flow in your veins.
- Diagnose medical conditions: This procedure might make it easier for your healthcare provider to identify any clots and diagnose diseases based on the anatomy of your veins.
- Guide catheter placement: A vein ultrasound might make it easier for your clinician to pass any catheter or needle for any treatment of an ongoing illness.
- Mapping veins in a limb: Your doctor might require this test to map your venous anatomy before surgery.
When does this imaging tool get used?
If your doctor suspects any of the following conditions, they might recommend getting this test done.
This vascular abnormality involves damaged venous valves and weakened venous walls, resulting in blood pooling inside the veins. This condition most commonly affects the lower limbs.
Deep vein thrombosis
Studies show that physicians diagnose over 95% of deep vein thrombosis cases by ultrasound. Therefore, it pushes the case for early intervention.
As a result of clot formation in your superficial veins, your veins might get inflamed, becoming tender and hot. This is common in old age, pregnancy, and people who smoke.
Venous leg ulcer
This painful sore around your ankles might lead to discoloration and functional restriction. To diagnose, your doctor might recommend getting a venous ultrasound to evaluate the underlying pathology.
How is a vein ultrasound performed?
The procedure might take only half an hour. Your doctor might recommend not eating or drinking anything other than water 6-8 hours before the process. A special gel is rubbed on the area under examination, making it easier for the transducer to slide over your skin. The transducer is then used to send and receive sound waves, forming an image on the screen that would help identify and potentially diagnose the underlying venous pathology.
Your doctor will thoroughly review everything you need to know before conducting a vein ultrasound.
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