Once venous problems are suspected or diagnosed on history and physical exam, the Vein Specialist will need to know precisely where the problem(s) is located and exactly how much and to what degree the venous system in the lower extremity is affected.
A well-trained ultrasonographer is needed to perform a detailed ultrasound exam. This is usually done on both legs, since venous problems are commonly bilateral. A venous map will be created, carefully showing all the abnormalities. This is done in our office in the upright position, using gravity to our advantage to help determine all of the areas that are diseased.
The ultrasound is painless. However, patients need to expect that this exam may take as long as one hour to perform.
The ultrasound is also necessary in the Operating Room whenever laser procedures and deep vein ultrasound guided sclerotherapy is used.
Finally, a brief ultrasound exam is used to evaluate the effect of treatment when the patient comes back for follow up after a procedure.
The ultrasound, therefore, is critical to the modern day practice of Phlebology (Study of the Venous System). It allows the Vein Specialist to use a guided, specific approach, targeting only the diseased segments and leaving the normal functioning portions of the venous system alone.