Why a Vein Doctor Uses Duplex Ultrasound

Some patients find varicose veins an annoyance because of their bulging, ropelike appearance.  For others, they are a major source of discomfort that could cause complications if untreated.  Duplex ultrasound is one essential tool a vein doctor uses in locating abnormal vessels and formulating a treatment plan.

How Duplex Ultrasound Works

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, vein doctors utilize this non-invasive procedure to check how blood flows in veins and also to hunt for blood clots.  The specialists who typically use this technology at a vein clinic are vascular surgeons.

MedlinePlus indicates that medical providers also refer to duplex ultrasound as vascular ultrasound and peripheral vascular ultrasound.  It combines two ultrasound technologies:

  • Traditional creates pictures as sound waves bounce off vessels.
  • Doppler captures a record as waves reflect off objects in motion such as blood.  It measures speed and other blood flow characteristics.

Vein doctors use duplex ultrasound to find problem blood vessels, make a specific diagnosis, and recommend a customized treatment plan for a varicose vein patient.  The procedure is particularly useful when determining if the individual has any complications, particularly blockages.  In addition to examining vein problems in the legs, it is helpful for investigating how blood flows through the arms, neck, kidneys, and abdomen.

What to Expect at a Vein Treatment Center

Cedars-Sinai® reports that a duplex ultrasound procedure for varicose veins requires no particular preparation.  However, many patients bring something to read or music with them to enjoy while waiting.

Vascular surgeons utilize this technology on an outpatient basis.  According to MedlinePlus, the staff issues a gown at the beginning of the appointment.  The exam occurs while the patient is lying down on a table.

As soon as the individual is in the proper position, an ultrasound technician spreads a medical gel over the area to be tested.  This gels helps sound waves permeate body tissues.

As the test progresses, a technician or a physician might request the patient to move into a variety of positions.  Until such a request occurs, the patient needs to stay still on the table.

Images form as a wand called a transducer moves over the area being examined.  As the wand sends out sound waves, patients often describe a sound that resembles swishing.  Blood traveling through veins generates this sound.

Sound waves reflect from the patient’s body to a computer, where software turns them into images.  Depending on the circumstances of the case, a vein specialist might opt to also perform an ankle-brachial test, during which the staff places blood pressure cuffs on the patient’s arms and legs.

Most patients report no discomfort during a duplex ultrasound session.  Some note a bit of pressure as the transducer moves across targeted areas.  Doctors associate no risk with this type of exam.

A Vein Doctor Reviews Varicose Vein Myths and Facts

Got varicose veins? You’re not alone. Although the vein problem is fairly common, there’s a lot of misinformation out there about it. Your vein doctor is here to set the record straight and let you know what’s a fact and what’s a myth when it comes to varicose veins.

Myth and Facts About Varicose Veins from a Vein Doctor

Fact: Lots of People Have Them

It’s true. Varicose veins are a very common problem. According to the Society of Interventional Radiology, about half of the US population has some type of venous disease. Nearly a quarter of the population has visible varicose veins. Varicose veins are more prevalent among older populations. About half of people over age 50 have them, for example.

Myth: They Are Only a Cosmetic Concern

One all too common myth about varicose veins is that they are just a cosmetic issue. It’s true that for some people, the veins are little more than an embarrassment. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t cause symptoms or aren’t a cause for medical concern for every patient.

Some people experience pain and discomfort as a result of their varicose veins, for example. The veins can also lead to a skin problem known as dermatitis, which is a type of rash. Some people develop a blood clot, or superficial thrombophlebitis, in their varicose veins.

Fact: A Number of Factors Cause Them

Several things can cause a person to develop varicose veins or increase a person’s risk for developing them. Varicose veins form when a valve in the vein becomes weak and is no longer able to hold in the blood as it pumped up the leg. Pressure in the legs, caused by extra weight, standing a lot or aging, can increase a person’s chances of developing varicose veins.

Myth: You Get Them By Crossing Your Legs

For years, people claimed that crossing your legs would make you develop varicose veins. That’s not true. What is true is that crossed legs can make already existing varicose veins worse or more visible. The pressure put on your legs by crossing them isn’t great enough to weaken the valves in your veins.

If you like to wear tight clothing, you can rest easy too. Just as crossing your legs won’t cause varicose veins, neither will tight or restrictive garments.

Fact: You Can Treat Them

Lots of treatment options exist for varicose veins, from home treatments to surgery. Your vein doctor can review all the options available with you and help you decide which one is best.

Myth: Treatment is Invasive

More good news: not all varicose vein treatments are invasive. Ambulatory phlebectomy, for example, involves tiny incisions, doesn’t require general anesthesia and has a quick recovery time.

Your vein doctor is here to answer any additional questions you have about varicose veins or venous disease. Contact us today for more details.

When to See a Vein Doctor

If you have abnormal veins, you may wonder what you can do to deal with the symptoms of condition. Fortunately, effective treatments are available to address the symptoms of both spider veins and varicose veins. The best way to learn about these treatments and improve your condition is to visit a qualified vein doctor.

What is a Vein Doctor?

A vein doctor is a medical professional who has been trained to diagnose and treat conditions affecting the veins. A vein doctor can evaluate your abnormal veins, ask questions about your medical history and provide you with an accurate diagnosis. Your vein doctor will also be able to explain all of your treatment options and help you determine the best course of action.

What Can a Vein Doctor Do for Me?

Depending on your condition, a vein doctor may be able to administer a number of different treatments designed to improve and/or eliminate your symptoms. Some of the treatment options available to you may include:

  • VeinGogh. – The VeinGogh Ohmic Thermolysis System treats spider veins with thermocoagulation. Using a thin, insulated probe, the surgeon delivers concentrated thermal energy to the vein, causing the blood to coagulate. This procedure is sometimes used in conjunction with sclerotherapy.
  • Sclerotherapy. – Sclerotherapy is an option that may be utilized for spider veins, as well as for smaller varicose veins. This procedure works by introducing a sclerosing solution into the abnormal vein. This solution irritates the walls of the vein, causing them to swell and stick together. Over time, the vein will fade from view.
  • Venefit Closure. – Venefit, which is also known as “VNUS closure,” utilizes radiofrequency energy to treat varicose veins. This procedure is usually performed under ultrasound guidance to ensure accuracy.
  • Ambulatory Phlebectomy. – If you have veins that are close to the surface of the skin, your doctor may recommend ambulatory phlebectomy. This procedure works by removing the diseased vein from your body entirely. During the procedure, the surgeon will administer a local anesthetic. He or she will then make small incisions in the skin near your abnormal vein and remove it from the body in pieces using small surgical hooks.

Making an Appointment

If you are interested in learning more about the spider vein and varicose vein treatments available from a qualified vein doctor, call Bridgeport Vein Center today to schedule an appointment.

Tips for Choosing a Local Vein Specialist

Whether you  have varicose veins or spider veins, or a combination of both, finding a local vein specialist to treat them isn’t as easy as looking in the phonebook or doing a quick Google search. You want a vein specialist who has the knowledge, experience, and education needed not only to perform the surgery or other treatment right, but also to easily determine which treatment will best meet your needs. Before you decide on a vein doctor or vascular surgeon, it helps to look closely at a few areas.

What to Look for in a Vein Specialist

 

Training and Experiencejanoff_article

Ask yourself this, would you rather work with a vascular surgeon who’s been in practice for many years or with one who only recently graduated from medical school? Most likely, you’d pick the surgeon with ample training, knowledge and experience. Take a look at the vein doctor’s CV to find out how long he’s been in practice, what procedures he typically performs, and where he’s licensed to practice. It also helps to look for board certification, as that means that he has passed a number of requirements beyond medical school, such as completing years of residency and fellowship training.

 

References and Reviews

Talking to people who have had vein treatments can give you a good idea of how skilled a particular vein specialist is. There are a number of ways to find out what previous patients think of the  doctor you’re considering. You can ask the doctor to provide you with references, you can look online at reviews left by past patients, or you can ask any friends or relatives you know who might have had vein treatments from the same doctor. Your primary care doctor might also be able to give you a good review or refer you to a vascular surgeon.

 

Bedside Manner

The truth is that not every patient and every doctor is a good match. A vein doctor your friend loves might not be your cup of tea, for example. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have an initial consultation with a doctor before you decide to see him for treatment. During your consultation, you’ll get a good idea of how the doctor treats patients and how the staff at the vein center interacts with patients, and you’ll have a good idea of whether it’s a level of interaction you feel comfortable with. If you don’t feel absolutely comfortable with a doctor or if you feel that the surgeon is rushing you or not listening to your concerns, it will probably not be a good working relationship, and you’ll be better off finding a different specialist to work with.

5 Health Tips from Your Local Varicose Vein Doctor

Some factors that cause varicose veins are out of your control. You can’t help it if vein disease runs in your family, for example, and you can’t keep your body from getting older. But, other common causes of varicose veins and other types of vein disease are within your ability to control. Your local varicose vein doctor has some advice to help you improve your health and reduce the occurrence of vein disease.

Tips to Help Reduce or Prevent Vein Disease, from Your Varicose Vein Doctor:

Get Up and Move Frequently  vein doctor

Your veins are already fighting an uphill battle when it comes to getting blood back up to the heart. When you sit or stand still for extended periods of time – such as eight hours in a desk chair at the office — you make the battle that much more difficult. One way to improve your  health and to minimize the risk for developing vein disease is to get up and move on a regular basis. Every  hour or so, make it a point to walk from one end of the hallway or office building to another. Use it as an excuse to visit a co-worker or to grab some water to drink. When you do sit or stand still, make sure not to cross your legs, as doing so puts more pressure on the veins.

Cut Out Unhealthy Habits

Smoking reduces blood flow and can make varicose veins worse. Reducing your risk for vein disease is only one reason to quit smoking, but it might be the reason that matters the most to you. Excessive alcohol consumption is another habit that can make vein disease worse. Like smoking, alcohol affects blood flow. Drinking a moderate amount, or not at all, can help improve your overall health, as well as your veins.

Maintain or Lose Weight

Being overweight is another common risk factor for varicose veins. Doing what you can to maintain your weight if you’re at a healthy one or to lose weight if you are heavier than recommended can help protect your health and your veins.

Eat a Healthy Diet

Eating  a healthy diet goes hand in hand with helping you lose or maintain your weight. But, healthy eating has more benefits that just weight loss. When you eat a diet that is low in sodium and high in fiber, you help improve your blood pressure and circulation, reducing the chance that your vein disease will become worse.

Choose Low Impact Exercise

Some types of exercise are better for varicose vein treatment than others. For example, workouts that don’t put a lot of pressure on the legs, such as swimming and cycling, tend to be better than exercises that cause straining or pressure, such as weight lifting.

How a Vein Doctor Treats Spider Veins

Most of the concerns people have about spider veins center on the fact that they can be a cosmetic nuisance.  Quite often, they run in families.  A vein doctor usually treats spider veins with a procedure known as sclerotherapy.

Overview of Spider Veins

Spider veins are small blood vessels that are blue, red or purple.  They are usually 1 mm or less in size and most often form on a leg or on the face.  Most of the time, they have no link to any type of serious health disorder.

Many people are under the impression that spider veins are a type of varicose veins.  While there are some similarities, the two types of vessels represent distinct conditions.  UCLA Health indicates that spider veins, the smaller of the two vessels, appear closer to the surface of the skin.  The most common reasons they develop include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Excess weight
  • Heredity
  • Other shifts in hormones
  • Sitting or standing for extended periods

 

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