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.
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), even fairly advanced superficial varicose veins might not be visible to the naked eye.
Diagnosing vein disease is complicated. Even tiny spider veins may be connected to larger underlying veins that have become diseased and that effect the circulation of your leg. The only real way to be certain about your vein health is to have a professional vein health examination that uses the most advanced ultrasound equipment available and has been especially trained to look for varicose vein disease.
Ultrasound is the key to vein disease diagnosis
Ultrasound is one of the most important medical advances in recent decades, because it allows doctors to look for disease inside the body in a non-invasive way. The term “ultrasound” is used because the technology uses oscillating sound waves that pass harmlessly through the skin and then bounce off of tissue, bone, blood vessels, and organs to create images that the doctor can then use to detect disease. Ultrasound has become such 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 meaning that doctors or vascular sonographers can see the vein, and determine whether it is working or not – 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 varicosed. At The Vein Institute, we use high-frequency Venous Duplex Ultrasound, which 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 that may be hidden deep beneath the surface of the skin, and 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 achieved when the scan is performed by a specialist who has received advanced training and who has passed the numerous examinations necessary to be certified as a Vascular Sonographer.
Performing a Venous Duplex Ultrasound examination is a specialised and detailed process, one that takes 30 to 45 minutes per scan to achieve an accurate diagnosis. We have found that the types of scans performed using older, outmoded types of ultrasound often miss the “hidden” veins that turn out to be important underlying causes of the patient’s varicose veins. We feel that the training required to become a Vascular Sonographer are crucial to being able to diagnose diseases such as CVI or the even more dangerous deep vein thrombosis (DVT) 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.
Instead, give us a call at 1300 981 402 to schedule an appointment for your own in-depth venous health evaluation.