Venous insufficiency is treatable, but your doctor will likely order an ultrasound first. Here’s what you can expect.
Leg swelling, pain, and varicose veins are all symptoms of venous insufficiency. This chronic condition that develops when the leg veins cannot efficiently pump blood back to the heart. About one in 20 adults have chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), so if you think you have CVI, you’re not alone! But before a board-certified vein specialist can diagnose chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) and suggest appropriate treatment, you will likely first undergo an ultrasound exam.
What is CVI?
In healthy veins, tiny valves open and close tightly to push blood back to the heart. But if those valves weaken, blood backslides and pools in the vein, causing pain, swelling, cramping, and a feeling of heaviness in the leg.
While CVI is generally not considered a severe medical condition, it can be painful and progressive, leading to risky complications. But the good news is treatment can stop CVI in its tracks. The first step is an ultrasound exam, which can give your doctor important information needed to recommend a treatment path best suited for your unique needs.
How does ultrasound work?
Also known as a vascular ultrasound or a duplex study, an ultrasound is a painless, non-invasive medical test. No special preparation is required before the exam. You can eat normally, but wearing loose-fitting clothes is advisable for convenience.
Your doctor will apply a gel on your leg before passing over a transducer about the size of a small microphone. You may feel slight pressure as the transducer moves and hear a “whooshing” noise, which is the sound of blood flowing through the veins.
The transducer emits sound waves into the soft tissues and blood vessels. The sound waves produce echoes that are turned into detailed images of your veins on a computer screen. The entire exam should take about an hour. There are no restrictions after this test.
The images created by the ultrasound reveal how blood flows through the veins. An ultrasound can also assess if a blood clot is blocking blood flow.
In addition to informing treatment decisions, an ultrasound is used while performing vein procedures. For example, ultrasound provides a map of affected veins that require treatment during ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy. Your physician may also perform an ultrasound after treatment to determine if the procedure achieved treatment goals.
As the primary diagnostic tool to diagnose CVI, it’s commonly performed when vein disease is suspected. Because an ultrasound produces no radiation, it’s extremely safe.
CVI is a progressive disease, and if left untreated, it can lead to severe complications, such as venous ulcers and possibly blood clots. By diagnosing CVI at its earliest stage, an ultrasound directs your vein specialist to the right therapy to eliminate varicose veins and other distressing symptoms of vein disease.
Schedule your ultrasound today
Are your veins hurting you? The physicians at Center for Restoration (CVR) can perform an ultrasound exam to determine the condition of your veins. With that information, we can tailor a treatment plan to help you overcome the pain of CVI.
Contact your nearest CVR location today to schedule a consultation or speak to a representative. You may also schedule online at your convenience.