When you go to the doctor for varicose vein treatment, duplex ultrasound will likely be the first test he or she performs. This is because venous duplex ultrasound is a diagnostic test that will help your doctor know for sure if you actually have a varicose vein problem or another condition with similar symptoms. Simultaneously, duplex ultrasound is used to determine the best type of varicose vein treatment for your particular condition.
What Is Duplex Ultrasound?
Since “duplex ultrasound” is a compound medical term, let’s break it into two parts, starting with the first part, “duplex.” According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, the word “duplex” means having two complementary parts. It also means the same as the word “twofold,” defined as something with two parts or two aspects. Therefore, a “duplex ultrasound” is an ultrasound with TWO parts, or in this case, TWO complementary diagnostic functions. A duplex ultrasound is basically two types of ultrasound rolled into one.
The first part of a duplex ultrasound is a standard ultrasound like doctors use to pinpoint where gallstones are or look at a developing fetus in a mother’s womb. This uses sound waves to bounce off the walls of your veins. A computer then analyzes the data produced to create a very cool 3D high resolution image of your veins. This allows your doctor to view the condition of your veins and your vein values. The image for this part of your duplex ultrasound is presented in grayscale.
The second part of a duplex ultrasound is a “doppler ultrasound.” This bounces sound waves off the red blood cells flowing through your veins. This doppler ultrasound provides information about the velocity and direction of the blood flow in your veins. This shows your doctor if there are any blockages, blood flow issues, or blot clots present. It also shows the direction of the blood flow. If the blood is flowing the wrong way in your views, the condition is called a venous reflux (like acid reflux), a very common problem in those with varicose veins. The doppler ultrasound results are presented in red and blue color and are superimposed on top of the grayscale 3D image of your veins. This combination of information is similar to putting color labels and pictures of buildings on a regular black and while roadmap!
Don’t Worry, It’s Painless and Harmless!
You may be relieved to know that a duplex ultrasound doesn’t hurt in any way, not even slightly! Furthermore, unlike an x-ray, which exposes you to a dose of dangerous ionizing radiation, the sound waves used during a duplex ultrasound will not harm you in any way. Just wear loose fitting, easy to shed, clothing on the day of the exam and you’ll be good to go.
What Will Happen During a Duplex Ultrasound Varicose Vein Treatment?
The doctor will apply a warm water based gel to the end of a flat smooth probe, a transducer, and to the skin adjacent to the area he or she needs to examine. This is done because ultrasound waves don’t travel through the air so the gel acts a medium to transmit the ultrasound waves from the transducer, through your skin, to the inside of your body. The doctor will move the probe around the area he or she is examining. They may also press gently on your skin to see how this affects the flow of blood inside your veins.
You can ask your doctor to show you the picture they are seeing on their computer screen. It really is one of those rare opportunities to see INSIDE your own body so take advantage of it! You’ll also be able to hear the doppler effect. It sounds like an ethereal underwater sound, similar to what you hear in the movies when they place microphones in the water. Just like hearing your own heart beat, hearing the blood coursing through your veins is an experience you’ll never forget. In fact, it’s actually kind of fun!
Where Should You Get This Type of Varicose Vein Treatment?
The best place to get a duplex ultrasound for varicose veins is a clinic that specializes in varicose vein treatment. There are many specialities in medical practice and each one has its own nuances. Furthermore, while all doctors may be exposed to this technique in medical school, it is best to work with professionals that use this technique virtually every day of their professional practice. It takes practice both to perform a duplex ultrasound and to interpret accurately the results of the test. The doctors and other specialists at Metro Vein Centers are among the best in the business since this is what they specialize in and have been working in this field for many years.