What to Expect From Your Vein Ultrasound

What to Expect From Your Vein Ultrasound

At Dallas Vein Institute and Texas Vascular Institute, interventional radiologist Dr. Dev Batra and his team specialize in screening for, diagnosing, and treating vein conditions. One tool they use is venous ultrasound. Here’s what you can expect during the test.

Venous insufficiency and vein disease

Your circulatory system is a closed loop of blood vessels that supply oxygenated blood and nutrients to your body’s tissues and return deoxygenated blood to the lungs and heart. The arteries handle the former, and the veins manage the latter.

Veins, though, have to work harder — they need to move the blood to the upper body against the pull of gravity. When a problem arises and blood flow becomes sluggish, it’s termed venous insufficiency because the veins can’t meet the body’s needs.

Sluggish flow occurs when either a vein wall or one of the one-way valves inside the vein becomes damaged or weakened. It may happen due to injury, high blood pressure, or plaque formation in the vessels.

Damaged valves can’t close completely, which means blood is free to backtrack, and it often pools around the damaged area. As a result, the vein swells. If the vein is superficial (close to the surface), it causes thick, ropy, and colored protrusions on your legs — varicose veins.

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) happens when venous insufficiency isn’t treated, leading to poor circulation. Unfortunately, it’s a common occurrence, with about 40% of the population affected at some point during their lives. Without treatment, CVI can progress to later stages of vein disease, characterized by the following symptoms:

CVI can also lead to additional complications, including deep vein thrombosis — a clot in a leg vein deep in the tissue. The clot can further impede blood flow and may break free, travel to the lungs, and block blood from entering your lungs — a life-threatening emergency.

What to expect from your vein ultrasound

Better known as a vascular ultrasound and also called a duplex study, a vein ultrasound is a noninvasive test that shows how blood flows in your arms, neck, and legs. Dr. Batra may use the ultrasound to help diagnose CVI, DVT, varicose veins, or other blood vessel diseases.

Vascular ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves that pass through your soft tissues and blood vessels. These waves create echoes, and specialized computer software turns these echoes into highly detailed images or videos.

You don’t need to do anything special to prepare for a vascular ultrasound. Just wear comfortable and loose-fitting clothing to make access easier. Alternatively, you may be asked to change into a hospital gown.

During the test, you lie on an examination table. The technologist applies a lubricating gel to the areas the ultrasound will probe. Next, they place a transducer against your skin, which will emit high-frequency waves. You’ll feel a little light pressure as they move the transducer over the veins in question, and you may hear a “whooshing” sound created by the blood flow.

Once they’re done, they wipe off the gel, you get dressed, and you’re free to go back to your daily routine. Dr. Batra will contact you with the results of the test and discuss the next steps.

If you have vein disease, or you’re showing symptoms characteristic of it, it’s time to come to Dallas Vein Institute or Texas Vascular Institute for a consultation with Dr. Batra. To get started, call us at either location or book your appointment online.

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