What is it?
It is an ultrasound (high frequency sound wave) assessment of the veins that drain the blood from the legs. It is combined with Doppler ultrasound and color Doppler to evaluate blood flow through these veins.
How is it done?
The patient lays down on the exam table and the sonographer will use a wand (probe) with gel, up and down the skin of each leg. Gentle local pressure will also be applied with the wand to look for compressibility of the veins.
Why is it done?
It is used to assess the flow velocities of blood through the various veins in the legs (from upper thigh down to the foot).
Obstructions (partial or complete) can be seen which may reflect current blood clots or prior clots, that have now scarred.
An important aspect is to determine if the superficial leg veins have incompetent valves. Poorly functioning or non-functioning vein valves are associated with varicose and spider veins and produce a variety of symptoms such as:
- fluid retention / swelling
- burning of skin
- skin discoloration
- ulcers on the legs
- leg cramps (typically at night)
The effectiveness of prior treatments for varicose veins such as surgical stripping or venous ablations can be evaluated.
The sonographer will perform the test and the results will be interpreted by the physician, which will be discussed at the next follow up appointment.