Investigation of Vein Problems
A physical examination is useful in showing the extent of the varicose veins, but it is not always clear from where varicosities arise. This is especially true when varicose veins have recurred after a previous operation. Even experienced vascular surgeons find it difficult to decide exactly where the problem lies without the use of special investigations.
Colour duplex ultrasound imaging is now universally acknowledged to be the gold standard for investigating venous disease. It is the least invasive and most informative technique available. Ultrasonography reliably shows the source of the varices and venous ulcers, as well as demonstrating thrombosis of the deep veins, by obtaining pictures of the veins and measuring blood flow in the vessels. In this way it is also easy to visualise the leaky valves. The investigation and machine used is similar to that undertaken when scanning during pregnancy. This investigation should always be performed before undertaking any form of treatment whether surgical or by injections.
Ultrasound imaging is used to mark the exact position of veins on the leg before any treatment is done. This makes sure that all veins are destroyed. This investigation is used to identify the faulty veins that will be treated by modern vein treatments including radiofrequency ablation and ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy.
All modern tests for vein problems are called “non-invasive”, that is none of them involves any needles or injections and, in fact, none of these tests is painful!