Duplex Ultrasound – Test of Many Names

One of the great advantages of modern medicine is the ability to obtain information about what’s going on inside the body. Superman had X-ray vision, but today’s doctors have the duplex ultrasound, variously known as a Doppler test, vascular lab test, duplex exam, duplex scan, ultrasound, ultrasound exam, vascular ultrasound and peripheral vascular ultrasound. Here’s some basic information about the duplex ultrasound (we’ll just stick to that name for the moment) from Dr. Stephen Jung, of the Columbus Vein Center.

What is Duplex Ultrasound?

Traditional ultrasound is a technique that bounces sound waves off structures in the body to create pictures. A duplex ultrasound combines that technique with sound waves that bounce off moving objects like blood. This creates a recording that can measure the speed and force of the flow and identify any obstructions. Duplex ultrasounds are used to examine blood flow and the condition of the blood vessels in a particular area of the body. Duplex ultrasounds can be used to examine the abdomen, carotid arteries in the neck, blood flow in the extremities and in the kidneys and related blood vessels.

What is Duplex Ultrasound Used For?

The key to a duplex ultrasound is the ability to look at blood flow. Less invasive than arteriograms and venograms, which involve placing a catheter in a blood vessel and injecting dye, an ultrasound can be used in a doctor’s office or clinic. In the abdomen, an ultrasound can show signs of an aneurysm – a weak spot in the artery wall that can expand under pressure and break open. Ultrasounds can show if an artery is blocked or has a blood clot, or if there is blood vessel disease in an area like the kidney. Vein doctors and vascular surgeons often use ultrasounds to evaluate varicose veins or to check for a condition called venous insufficiency, which may precede varicose veins.

What’s the Procedure Like?

An ultrasound should always be performed by a credentialed technician in an accredited vascular laboratory. The test generally takes about 30 minutes and there are usually no side effects or complications. The technician will spread a special gel over the area being examined. The gel helps transmit sound waves. A wand or headpiece called a transducer is moved slowly over the area being examined; the wand is what transmits the sound waves through the tissues. The wand is connected to a computer that measures the readings and changes them into pictures. The Doppler part of the ultrasound creates a swishing noise as the blood moves through your arteries and veins. You may be asked to hold still or change positions and may need to take a deep breath and hold it. Once the test is complete, there is no recovery time; you can go about your usual activities.

Results from the duplex ultrasound are quickly available to your doctor, who can discuss the findings with you. The results can help plan your future care. If you have questions about the duplex ultrasound, please contact us at the Columbus Vein Center.

 

Pros and Cons of Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy

When it comes to varicose vein treatments, you have a number of options. Looking at the variety of treatments available, it might be difficult to determine whether one, such as ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, is better than another. Your vein doctor can recommend the ideal treatment for your veins, based on their size and where they are located. In the meantime, it can help to take a close look at a treatment and to get a sense of what its pros and cons are. 

Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy: Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefit: Can Treat Veins Located Deep Below the Surface of the Skin

Perhaps the biggest benefit of sclerotherapy using ultrasound is that it is able to treat veins that are well below the surface of the skin. Typically, sclerotherapy involves injecting surface level spider veins with a foam or chemical that causes them to collapse. It can be difficult for a doctor to reach deeper veins, since they can’t be seen. The use of ultrasound imaging allows a doctor to detect and treat those veins. Additionally, ultrasound assisted sclerotherapy is able to treat larger varicose veins than traditional sclerotherapy.

Benefit: Treatment Doesn’t Take that Long

Another benefit of the treatment is that it’s a relatively quick procedure. It all depends on the size of the area being treated, but most treatments take an hour or less. The recovery after the treatment is also pretty short. You might be back on your feet and back to your regular activities just a few hours after treatment or by the next day.

Benefit: Less Invasive Than Other Methods

One more benefit of sclerotherapy using ultrasound: it’s less invasive that surgical options. Since the doctor is able to see beneath the skin with the aid of the ultrasound, he doesn’t need to make deep incisions, which need time to heal. The treatment can also be performed using a local anesthetic and/or a sedative, instead of general anesthesia, which would be needed if a surgical varicose vein treatment were performed.

Drawback: You Might Need a Series of Treatments

One disadvantage of the treatment is that it might actually require a series of treatment. You might notice some improvement after the first treatment, but you might need two or three before you get the full results you want.

Drawback: There are Some Risks

Every varicose vein treatment has some risk for complications, including ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy. You might have some irritation at the treatment site, for example, or swelling and bruising for some time afterwards. Although there are some risks involved, many patients are able to successfully have treatment without any issues. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about the potential for complications and what you can do to minimize them.

If you’re ready to consider ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy or another type of vein treatment, contact Columbus Vein Center to schedule a consultation today. 

Is It Time to See a Vein Specialist?

If you are dealing with abnormal veins, you may be experiencing a variety of different symptoms that affect the quality of your life. Because these conditions tend to get worse over time, you may wonder how long you should wait before making an appointment with a vein specialist. Below is some information to help you understand vein conditions and decide if the time is right for you to make your first appointment. 

About Abnormal Veins

Abnormal veins usually develop when the valves that control blood flow in the veins stop working properly. When these valves don’t function correctly, blood can flow backward and/or pool in the vein. Abnormal veins fall into two basic categories: spider veins and varicose veins. While spider veins are small, web-like veins that are visible from the surface of the skin, varicose veins are much larger and more likely to be painful. Varicose veins may also be swollen and raised. 

Patients with spider veins may not experience any symptoms aside from the appearance of the veins under the skin. However, patients with varicose veins often report additional symptoms, such as tingling, cramping, burning, weakness, restlessness, numbness and general discomfort. 

Treating Abnormal Veins at Home

If you have noticed the symptoms of abnormal veins, you may begin by trying to treat the problem at home. Common at-home treatments for abnormal veins include compression stockings and elevation of the legs. If you are overweight, losing some weight may also alleviate some of your symptoms. 

If you have tried these at-home treatment methods with little success, or if you think your condition is too severe for at-home treatment, it may be time to make an appointment with a vein specialist. 

How Can a Vein Specialist Help?

Visiting an experienced vein doctor for abnormal vein treatment can help in a number of ways. First, the specialist will be able to examine your veins and diagnose them accurately. The doctor will also be able to determine whether you are a good candidate for the different types of vein treatments available from the clinic. At Columbus Vein Center, people with abnormal veins have access to the following procedures:

  • Sclerotherapy
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy
  • VNUS closure
  • Endovenous laser treatment

Each of these treatment options offers different advantages and disadvantages for patients. Vein specialists can tell you which of these options is most appropriate for you. To learn more about vein treatment, please make an appointment at Columbus Vein Center today. 

 

 

How to Get Rid of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are common, and they tend to get worse with time. Fortunately, several effective treatments are available to people with this condition. To find out how to get rid of varicose veins, consult the information below. 

What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are abnormal veins that usually develop when the valves within blood vessels stop functioning properly. When this occurs, blood can flow backward, or it can pool in the vein and cause it to dilate. When varicose veins develop, they typically appear as large, gnarled veins that may be deep within the tissues. In some cases, however, varicose veins may protrude from the surface of the skin. 

Some patients don’t experience any additional symptoms from varicose veins. However, many patients also notice pain, cramping, tingling, weakness, heaviness and other uncomfortable sensations. In the worst cases, a varicose vein may even cause the skin to ulcerate. 

Treating Varicose Veins

When varicose veins are mild, patients may be able to improve the condition by wearing compression stockings and/or elevating the affected limb. If the patient is overweight, losing weight may also be beneficial. However, in many cases, varicose veins are too severe to respond to these conservative treatments. If conservative treatments aren’t successful, you can get rid of your varicose veins by visiting a vein treatment specialist. Treatment options available from vein specialists include:

  • Sclerotherapy – Some varicose veins respond to sclerotherapy, which is a procedure that involves introducing a sclerosing solution into the vein. This solution forces the vein to collapse. 
  • EVLT – EVLT involves the use of laser energy to close off a varicose vein. This energy is delivered to the interior of the vein via a thin catheter. 
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy – When varicose veins are close to the skin’s surface, ambulatory phlebectomy can be used to remove the vein from the body entirely. 
  • VNUS closure – During this procedure, the surgeon uses radiofrequency energy to treat the affected vein. As with EVLT, the radiofrequency energy is delivered to the vein using a catheter. 

To learn more about these treatment options and find out which one is right for you, please contact Columbus Vein Center today. 

 

What Causes Spider Veins?

Spider veins are common and affect millions of people across the United States. When an individual notices the symptoms of this condition, one of the first questions he or she may ask is "What causes spider veins?" Below is some information to help you understand how and why spider veins develop. 

What Are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins in that they are blood vessels that are more dilated than they should be. However, they are smaller and located closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins. Spider veins tend to be red, blue or purple in color. They often appear in web-like formations, and they are most common on the legs and chest. 

Causes of Spider Veins

Spider veins develop when the veins don’t function like they should. In many cases, a failure of the valves within the vein is the primary cause of the issue. A number of different factors can contribute to the development of spider veins, including:

  • Increasing age. 
  • History of pregnancy. 
  • Spending a lot of time on your feet. 
  • History of blood clots. 
  • Genetic factors. 
  • Using hormone replacement after menopause. 
  • Being overweight or obese. 

Treating Spider Veins

Because spider veins can be unsightly and uncomfortable, many people with this condition seek treatment. If spider veins are located in the legs and are not severe, wearing compression stockings and/or elevating the legs may help to alleviate symptoms. If you are overweight, losing weight may also be beneficial. 

If conservative measures such as weight loss and compression stockings don’t work, patients with this condition may benefit from other treatment measures. The most common treatment method recommended to patients with spider veins is sclerotherapy. This treatment works by introducing a special solution into the abnormal veins. This solution irritates the walls of the veins, causing them to stick together. Eventually, the veins will fade from view. 

How Do I Learn More?

If you think you may have spider veins, you can learn more about treating your veins and preventing recurrence by contacting the experts at Columbus Vein Center. 

Avoid Venous Disease with Healthy Weight

Healthy eating habits and body weight affect many aspects of your life, and that includes the tendency to develop venous disease and its complications. Some people overlook the value of moderate weight in preventing or controlling vein and circulation problems. Let this blog post provide you with yet another incentive to maintain healthy weight, eat right and get daily exercise.

How Does Weight Affect Venous Disease?

Most people are aware that excess weight can put strain on your joints and put you at risk for diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems. But overweight also places stress on other bodily systems, including the vascular system. Excess weight can make you more likely to develop abnormal veins, venous reflux, bulging, varicose veins and blood clots. Here’s how it happens: 

  • Overweight literally adds external physical pressure to your circulatory system. The pressure can even limit or cut off blood flow to your lower body if you remain seated for a significant length of time. Anyone, no matter their weight, however, should alternate sitting, standing and walking to prevent circulatory problems. 
  • Overweight also makes it more difficult for your blood to travel back to your heart and lungs from your extremities. The extra weight makes venous reflux (due to malfunctioning valves within your veins) more likely. That’s because your blood already must fight gravity to get back up to the cardiopulmonary system. Your overall health is at risk if your blood cannot adequately return to pick up more oxygen and nutrients and redistribute them throughout your body. Instead, you can end up with blood pooling in your lower legs, swollen ankles, bulging varicose veins, dangerous DVT blood clots (deep vein thrombosis) and more. 
  • Weak muscles from lack of exercise and/or excess weight further aggravate vein disease, because strong muscles help move blood against gravity. Without the muscle support in your legs and with extra body weight to deal with, your vein valves can become overwhelmed and malfunction, causing vein problems and painful symptoms. 

Is Venous Disease Preventing You from Exercising?

It can be a vicious circle if you have venous disease and are overweight. Let your local vascular surgeon help. If you have leg pain from venous disorders, your vein doctor in Columbus MO can help you to regain normal circulation and eliminate leg pain, swelling and other symptoms of vein problems. As your vein health improves, you will find it easier to get regular exercise and keep vein disease from getting worse in future. 

At The Columbus Vein Center, we offer personalized vein treatment for your vein disease. Make an appointment at our Columbus MO vein clinic and let us help you find the right vascular disease solution for you. Contact us today.

Vein Disease Basics

Vein disease is a catch-all term used to describe a number of different circulatory problems. These may include spider veins, varicose veins, venous insufficiency or phlebitis. Some of these conditions, like spider veins, are minor and mostly raise cosmetic issues, while others have the potential to be life-threatening. Vascular and interventional radiology specialists like Dr. Stephen Jung, of the Columbus Vein Center, can help you with vein disease.

Vein Disease: Varicose Veins

Many cases of vein disease occur for one simple reason: valve failure. Unlike arteries, in which blood moves with each beat of the heart, the veins rely on muscle contractions in the legs to pump against the flow of gravity. Small tissue flaps called valves are strategically positioned to prevent blood from flowing backward. Unfortunately, these valves can stop working properly, causing a condition called venous insufficiency and allowing the blood to pool and distend the veins, which results in varicose veins.

Vein Disease: Phlebitis and Blood Clots

Phlebitis occurs when the wall of the vein become inflamed. Venous insufficiency can contribute to phlebitis, but it can also occur as the result of irritation from an intravenous line or drug injections. Phlebitis in the legs increases the risk of blood clots developing in the large veins of the leg and pelvis. If the clot breaks loose, it can travel to the lungs and cause a potentially life-threatening condition called pulmonary embolism. You can also develop phlebitis without developing a blood clot. Phlebitis on its own is usually treated with rest and the application of heat, but a blood clot is treated with anticoagulant medications.

Vein Disease: Causes

Genetics may play a role in some vein diseases. Varicose veins, for example, tend to run in families. As people age, the risk of vein disease increases, especially venous insufficiency and varicose veins. Most people who suffer from these conditions are older, although women are more likely to develop problems in their 40s, while men don’t usually have trouble until they reach 70 or older. Women’s susceptibility can be influenced by pregnancy. Smokers, people who are obese or inactive and those who spend long hours on their feet are more likely to develop vein disease.

Vein Disease: Symptoms

Swelling in the ankles and feet is one of the most common symptoms of any kind of vein disease. Varicose veins may become distended and tortuous, clearly visible beneath the skin. Patients who have pain usually find it gets better when sitting with the legs raised but worse with standing. Some patients complain of itching, aching or throbbing in the legs, or a feeling of tightness around the calves.

If you have symptoms of vein disease or have previously been diagnosed with one of these problems, you can find help for your condition from Dr. Stephen Jung, at the Columbus Vein Center. We offer sclerotherapy, laser treatment and ambulatory phlebectomy as well as other services to residents of Columbus, Ohio. Please contact us today for an appointment.

 

 

How EVLT Beats Conventional Vein Stripping

Although vascular surgeons perform EVLT (endovenous laser ablation) vein treatment, EVLT is not a typical, invasive surgery procedure. When you hear the word surgeon, you may picture treatments that involve heavy general anesthesia, hospital operating rooms and long recovery periods. However, vascular surgeons today, due to advanced training and state-of-the–art equipment, perform mostly minimally invasive, relatively painless, quick-recovery procedures (like EVLT) with excellent results for varicose veins.

EVLT: Modern, Safe and Efficient Varicose Vein Treatment

EVLT is nothing like the conventional vein-stripping surgical procedures of the past. Older varicose vein surgeries typically entailed invasive vein stripping surgery. EVLT provides the same benefit as earlier vein-stripping surgery, in a non-invasive and quick-healing manner.

EVLT Advantages over Vein Stripping Surgery

EVLT was developed to eliminate varicose veins in a way that fits in with today’s busy lifestyles and it answers the need for efficient, effective and safe, barely-visible-incision treatments. EVLT is performed at a vein clinic in a medical office-like setting using a pinhole opening in the skin. EVLT is a walk-in and walk-out procedure with practically zero downtime. This is in contrast to standard vein stripping surgery, which requires incisions in the groin and the knee area, major bruising plus (at least) a few days, or even weeks, off from work.

Comparing the Procedures: What Happens During EVLT for Varicose Veins?

Vein Stripping Surgery: 

Vein stripping and ligation is traditional surgery that removes or ties off the superficial saphenous vein, a large leg vein that is a common location for vein disease and contributes to other varicose veins. General anesthesia is often required. The surgeon makes incisions in your groin area, and in your knee area, calf and/or ankle. After inserting a thin plastic thread into one end of the vein and out the other, the surgeon ties the thread and uses it to pull out the vein. Once the vein is pulled out through the calf or ankle incision, the incisions are sutured closed. Some patients spend the night in the hospital.

EVLT Laser Procedure:

The diseased and damaged vein is precisely located using ultrasound and the area near the vein is numbed. Using a laser probe, your surgeon makes a needle-sized hole in the skin. The laser travels down inside the vein, irritates it and causes it to collapse. Blood that formerly flowed through (and backed up within) the vein is re-routed around the area. This helps to normalize circulation and eliminate varicose vein symptoms. Patients can walk out of the clinic after EVLT with compression stockings and a tiny bandage.

Consult with a Vascular Specialist in Columbus, OH

Experienced vein specialists rarely perform vein-stripping surgery these days, since EVLT is safe, effective and less stressful for the patient. If you’re suffering with painful or unsightly varicose veins, make sure you consult a specialist with expertise in minimally invasive treatments like EVLT. Contact The Columbus Vein Center and our vascular experts will evaluate your condition and explain your options for treatment, which may include EVLT for varicose veins.

Varicose Leg Veins? VNUS Closure® Could Be a Great Solution

Varicose veins aren’t just unsightly – they can also cause pain, itching and other problems, plus they interfere with normal, healthy circulation in the legs and other areas where they occur. While varicose vein treatment for most larger leg veins used to mean invasive vein stripping procedures, today there’s a less invasive approach called VNUS® (or VNUS Closure®) that yields great results with less discomfort, less downtime and smaller incisions.

VNUS Closure®

VNUS Closure® uses radiofrequency ablation applied directly to the interior walls of the damaged blood vessel through a tiny incision, irritating the vein and causing it to collapse and seal off so the flow of blood is prevented. Once the damaged vessel is closed, blood is “automatically” rerouted by the body to nearby healthy veins.

VNUS Closure® Treatment: What to Expect

The VNUS Closure® procedure can be performed right in the office using local anesthesia to numb the skin. Prior to the procedure, ultrasound imaging will be used to map the diseased vein, identifying the best placement for the incisions used during treatment. Once the incision is made, the doctor will insert a very thin tube called a catheter into the vein, guiding it through the treatment area while the VNUS® device emits very small bursts of radiofrequency energy. As the energy reaches the vessel walls, it heats the collagen located in the walls of the vein, causing the collagen to shrink and contract, drawing the walls of the vessel inward until it closes off. Once the entire treatment area has been treated, the catheter is carefully withdrawn and the incision is sealed with a special surgical adhesive. Over the next few weeks, the diseased, sealed vein will be absorbed and removed by the body’s natural waste disposal system.

What happens after VNUS® treatment?

One of the benefits of the VNUS approach is that there’s virtually no downtime. Immediately after treatment, patients can (and should) walk to promote better healing, and regular routines typically can be resumed the day after treatment. Compression stockings usually are prescribed for one or two weeks to aid in healing. It’s not uncommon to experience some minor bruising, swelling or numbness in the treatment area, but these effects are temporary and resolve as healing progresses.

Find out more about VNUS Closure® varicose vein treatment.

Without prompt treatment, varicose veins can become worse, causing considerable pain and other circulatory problems. Fortunately, there are plenty of innovative, minimally-invasive treatment options for all sorts of varicose and spider veins so patients can enjoy better circulation and improved overall health without resorting to major surgery.

Columbus Vein Center is a top-ranked provider of varicose vein care for patients in and around Columbus, OH, and a trusted and experienced provider of state-of-the-art techniques like the VNUS Closure® treatment approach. To find out more about VNUS Closure® or to learn about other potential treatment options that can help you improve your circulatory health, call the Columbus Vein Center at 614-515-2440 and schedule an evaluation today.