Ultrasound – The Key to Imaging for Varicose Veins
A patient suffering from varicose veins should be aware of the importance of ultrasound for both diagnosis and treatment. Well performed and interpreted ultrasound is crucial to obtaining a correct diagnosis, which ultimately helps to establish an appropriate treatment plan for the patient.
Ultrasound for Diagnosis of Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are caused by abnormal veins below the skin surface that are not visible to the naked eye. It is widely accepted that diagnostic ultrasound is the best way to discover the root of the problem. Ultrasound is ideal as it can accurately determine the size and location of the problematic veins, and can also assess the direction of blood flow in them (which is very important to understanding which veins are normal and which are abnormal). In addition, ultrasound is fast, painless, and inexpensive. Finally, there is really no risk associated with ultrasound, as it utilizes no radiation.
Who should perform my diagnostic venous ultrasound?
Diagnostic ultrasound is extremely complicated. It takes years of training and experience to be really good at performing and interpreting it. In addition, the human venous system has many variations and unique conditions which are often hard to understand or interpret. Whomever performs your ultrasound should not only be experienced in ultrasound, but also have a thorough understanding of the wide range of normal and abnormal appearances of veins. It would be even more advantageous to you if the person performing your ultrasound is thoroughly knowledgeable about the various treatment options which are used in different situations.
In the community there is a wide range of training, knowledge, and experience amongst those who perform venous ultrasound. Depending upon the practice, your study might be performed and/or supervised by any of a number of different individuals – an inexperienced technologist, a more experienced technologist, an MD with minimal ultrasound training, or if you’re fortunate, an MD with a vast amount of ultrasound training and experience. Why is this important? Sometimes there is more than one problem. Sometimes the diagnosis is complicated. If the sonographer does not obtain accurate or incomplete information, you may be under-treated or over-treated by your physician. So it is critical that your study is performed and interpreted by an expert, to get the best results possible.
One other note – If you have your ultrasound performed on-site where your physician is, and if they have the ability, your physician should be able to show you the abnormality while scanning you. The two of you can then discuss treatment options and come to a solution that is best for your particular needs. At Beach Cities Vein and Laser Center, Dr. Rayman typically shows you the abnormality on ultrasound and explains the findings – in turn, he is able to simultaneously discuss the various treatment options with you, understand your goals and motivations, and help you to arrive at a plan that is best suited for you.
Ultrasound During Treatment of Varicose Veins
Once a diagnosis is established and your physician knows where the problems exist a personalized treatment plan is formulated. The abnormal veins might then be treated by using either RFA, EVLT (laser treatment), VenaSeal, ClariVein or ultrasound guided sclerotherapy. All of these procedures require the use of ultrasound guidance in order to pinpoint the correct area needing treatment, and to guide whichever device is used during treatment. Obviously if the physician who is performing the procedure is skilled in ultrasound, you are more likely to have a safer, faster and more comfortable procedure, with better results. Once again, at Beach Cities Vein and Laser Center it is Dr. Rayman who is doing the scanning during your procedure, so you can be sure that the abnormality will be easily found and treated – safely and comfortably.
Ultrasound Follow-up After Treatment of Varicose Veins
Once the procedure is done it is very important to have periodic follow-up ultrasounds. The reason for this is to identify any possible complications, as well as to assure that treatment is complete. Even though you may feel great after the procedure, sometimes there are areas that need a touch-up treatment, and the sooner this is caught, the faster and easier it is to address the problem.
Sometimes patients come to Beach Cities Vein and Laser Center after having had suboptimal or incomplete treatment for varicose or spider veins at another facility. These patients often have an underlying problem on ultrasound that was not previously identified. Once the problem is found, effective treatment can be provided.
At Beach Cities Vein and Laser Center all ultrasounds – both for initial diagnosis and follow-up, are performed on-site. This ensures an accurate diagnosis and ultimately the best treatment for our patients.
If you think you have an underlying venous problem, contact Beach Cities Vein and Laser Center or call at (310) 986-6500 today. We’ll be happy to schedule an ultrasound and try to get to the root of your problem.