If we were to ask you how you would know if you have varicose veins, your first intuitive answer would probably be, “Well, I’d look in a mirror.” Right? Well, as it turns out, this intuitive answer could be wrong. So how should you get the right scan for your legs?
You can probably see superficial (close to the surface of the skin) varicose veins in a mirror, but you would not be able to see deeper varicose veins. Depending on the makeup of your legs (how much fatty tissue exists between the muscle layers and your skin), you might not see even fairly superficial varicose veins.
Diagnosing vein disease is very specific. Even tiny spider veins might connect to larger underlying veins that are diseased and that affect the circulation of your leg. Therefore, the only way to be certain about your vein health is to get the right scan for your legs. And this means having a professional vein health examination, and using the most advanced ultrasound equipment available.
Ultrasound is the Key to Vein Disease Diagnosis
Ultrasound is one of the most important medical advances in recent decades. Indeed, it allows doctors to look for disease inside the body in a non-invasive way. We use the term “ultrasound” because the technology uses oscillating sound waves. These pass harmlessly through the skin and then bounce off of tissue, bone, blood vessels, and organs. This results in creating images that the doctor can then use to detect disease. Ultrasound is now an indispensable medical tool because it displays “real-time” images and because it is safe and doesn’t create ionising radiation the way X-rays do.
Only One Type of Ultrasound Scanning Represents the “Gold Standard” of Diagnosing Vein Disease Accurately
The “Gold Standard” of venous ultrasound is a combination of three types of technologies. This means that doctors or vascular sonographers can see the vein, and determine whether it is working or not.
For instance, an upward-moving blood column in a vein means that the vein is “competent”, whereas a downward moving blood column means that the vein is varicose.
At The Vein Institute, to get the right scan for your legs, we use high-frequency Venous Duplex Ultrasound. It gives us excellent resolution and a clearer picture of your vein health. We use this advanced form of sonography because our years of experience have shown us that it provides a more accurate picture of diseased veins. For instance, the ones that may hide deep beneath the surface of the skin. It also gives us the information we need to prescribe the most effective treatment.
There is also a “Gold Standard” for Medical Sonographers
The results of a Venous Duplex Ultrasound scan are only as good as the person who performs it. Optimum results can only be when a specialist performs them. This means an expert with an advanced training and numerous examinations necessary, as well as a Vascular Sonographer certification.
Performing a Venous Duplex Ultrasound examination is a special and detailed process. It takes 30 to 45 minutes per scan to achieve an accurate diagnosis. Also, the types of scans using older types of ultrasound often miss the “hidden” veins that turn out to be important underlying causes of the patient’s varicose veins. That is why the training necessary to become a Vascular Sonographer is crucial to being able to diagnose diseases such as CVI or deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The latter is a potentially fatal condition that “hides” in the deep veins of your legs and often displays no surface symptoms.
So if you want to be certain about the state of your vein health, we highly recommend that you not trust the “mirror test,” or 5-minute scans. Get the right scan for your legs at The Vein Institute.