Ultrasound equipment transmits and receives ultra-high frequency sound waves (too high to be heard by the human ear) through a sensor that is placed in contact with the legs. Transmission gel applied to the legs facilitates passage of the ultrasound waves between the sensor’s transmitter and receiver.
With this state-of-the-art technology, a qualified examiner can easily and accurately determine the diameter and location of veins and identify valve leakages. The color-flow feature utilizes the Doppler effect to determine and depict the movement of blood.
During an examination, the doctor will apply a bit of pressure to the patient’s calf muscle to force blood up the leg veins. The ultrasound monitor displays this flow in blue. When the doctor releases the pressure, there should be no downward movement of blood if the vein valves are functioning properly, so the image of the vein will remain black. However, if the valves in the vein are insufficient, blood falling back down the leg will show up in red on the screen.
Ultrasound takes the guesswork out of diagnosing vein disease. Before the advent of this remarkable technology, physicians would sometimes strip the wrong veins or fail to treat veins that were defective. That’s a major reason why the older methods of treating vein disease were less than satisfactory. Physicians, especially surgeons with experience in vein stripping and the older treatment methods, are uniquely qualified to recognize unusual anatomy variations or complications resulting from procedures that are now considered obsolete.