Vein, or vascular, health, can be elusive to understand for many patients. After all, it’s not something you usually can see on the surface, or something you can feel in a specific injury location. Veins are a complicated system throughout your body, and when they’re working right, you’d never know they were even there.
Of course, when they’re not working right, it affects your whole body and your other physical systems, including nerves, organs, muscles and joints. Vein conditions can cause symptoms all over the body, including pain, tenderness and swelling. So how do we find out what’s going on beneath the surface?
At Advanced Vein Center, we use ultrasound scanning to provide a state-of-the-art look at your veins, using high-quality imaging and easy, comfortable testing. For many vein conditions, ultrasound can tell us which veins are having trouble with blood flow, the diameter of key veins, and the state of the tiny valves that control blood pressure in the venous system.
Ultrasound for Veins
One exam that we do frequently for any leg vein condition is the deep vein thrombosis exam, which ensures our patients don’t suffer from dangerous blood clots which may require immediate treatment. The DVT exam is a staple for vein physicians, before and after procedures, to take images of the vein and confirm whether or not there is any risk of thrombosis, or clotting.
We also use ultrasound to detect irregular or backwards blood flow within veins closer to the surface, which can signal deteriorating valves that lead to painful vein conditions like varicose veins. That’s called a venous reflux exam, and scans the saphenous veins in the leg to show abnormal blood flow back through the valves at a very sensitive measurement.
Vascular Disease Screening
For patients who are having issues with blood pressure, bad vein health, poor blood flow, or painful or restless legs, we use ultrasound in a test known as the ankle brachial index.
By taking an ultrasound image of arteries in the ankle, we can locate and measure blood flow function in the area, then apply blood pressure cuffs at the calf and take measurements to compare to your normal blood pressure. This can tell us a lot about blood flow in your legs and whether there is any sign of peripheral vascular disease. If your arterial blood flow is impaired in the ankle or leg, we can move forward with treatment based on that information.
The results of exams like these are crucial to determine a patient’s treatment plan and insurance coverage, and catch troubling vein conditions before they develop into more serious health problems.
We even use ultrasound to image and find smaller veins during our sclerotherapy and phlebectomy treatments. Taking an ultrasound of the targeted veins allows us to guide injection needles for sclerotherapy and catheters for laser treatment in phlebectomy very closely and precisely, minimizing damage to veins and surrounding tissues, and ensuring a safe, effective and minimally-invasive procedure for the patient.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Advanced Vein Center with any questions about vein health or the exams and procedures we offer our patients in the Portland, Maine area and across New England.