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.


Should You Choose a Duplex Ultrasound for your Vein Treatment?

There are a number of ways to determine if you have varicose veins. Often, these veins can easily be seen. They appear darker, raised, and even bumpy. However, when you select a duplex ultrasound you are able to get the imaging you need to really determine where the issues are and how best to treat them. Your doctor will be able to perform this painless, non-invasive procedure, which will help decide the best course of treatment for your veins. Not everyone with varicose veins needs the same type of treatment, so it is important to do what is best for each patient  individually.

What Does a Duplex Ultrasound Provide?

The duplex ultrasound provides a map to help the doctor see where your vein problems lie. The pathway, size, and location are all important, and all of those issues need to be discovered before the right treatment plan can be determined. You may have only a vein or two that needs treatment, or you may have many varicose veins. The most common place for these types of vein problem is in the legs, but varicose veins can also appear in other areas of the body. With an ultrasound, trouble spots can be easily located so that the right treatment can begin.

How to Select the Right Vein Doctor for Your Procedure

In addition to the right diagnostics and treatment, you also want the right doctor. Choose a vein doctor you feel comfortable with, and who has the education, experience, and knowledge you’re looking for. By choosing the best doctor for your varicose vein treatment needs, you will have a higher chance of a good experience and the results you were expecting. That can help you get your treatment, heal, and move on with enjoying your life. You can love the way your legs look once again, and feel better, too.

What to Expect with Duplex Ultrasound

What to Expect with Duplex Ultrasound

Duplex ultrasound uses sound waves to create very detailed pictures of organs and structures inside your body that may not show up well on conventional x-rays. A vein doctor uses duplex ultrasound to create images of the veins in your legs. The test helps your vein specialist evaluate your circulatory system. Duplex ultrasound captures images in real time, which means your vein doctor can see the blood flowing through your veins.

Ultrasound is safe and painless. It uses the same sonar technology that captains use to guide submarines and anglers use to find fish. The ultrasound machine emits a high-frequency sound wave that bounces off tissue and back to the machine. A computer translates information gathered from the sound wave, such as loudness and pitch, into an image. Unlike traditional x-rays that use ionizing radiation to create images, ultrasound does not expose you to dangerous radiation.

Doctors use duplex ultrasound to detect problems in your veins, such as blood clots. Clinicians can also use ultrasound to help guide the placement of needles into a vein for precise injection of medications and lowered risk of bleeding, nerve injury, or other complications associated with injections.

The Duplex Ultrasound Procedure

There are no special preparations for duplex ultrasound of your legs. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound test. Your vein doctor will use the ultrasound machine on your legs, so wear clothing that makes it easy to expose your legs.

For the test, you will lay face-up on an examination table; you may need to roll slightly to one side or the other to improve the quality of the images. The person performing the ultrasound, known in that capacity as the sonographer, applies a clear water-based gel to the examination area. This gel improves contact between the machine and your skin.

The sonographer presses a handheld wand, known as a transducer, to the surface of your skin and moves it over your legs. The sonographer may sweep the area quickly to get a big picture, or angle the transducer in one spot to hone in on one area of interest.

During the procedure, you may hear pulse-like sounds that change in pitch as the sonographer measures blood flow. The test should be painless and most patients tolerate it well.

The procedure takes only a half hour to 45 minutes, depending on the complexity of the exam. The sonographer will wipe off any residual ultrasound gel, which does not stain or discolor clothing or skin.

You can resume normal activities immediately after an ultrasound. There are no risks or harmful effects associated with duplex ultrasound, according to the Society for Vascular Surgery. Your results should be immediately available to your vein doctor and available to you shortly thereafter.

For more information about what you can expect from duplex ultrasound, talk with your vein doctor.



How Duplex Ultrasound Works

How Duplex Ultrasound Works

You may already know that a duplex ultrasound creates images of organs and other structures inside your body, but do you know how it works?

An ultrasound is a little like an x-ray in that it takes pictures of your internal organs. Unlike x-rays that use radiation to create the images, however, ultrasound uses sound waves. Because ultrasound uses sound waves instead of radiation, it is safer than x-ray.

How Duplex Ultrasound Creates Images

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound that you cannot hear, but special equipment can emit and detect that sound. This high-frequency sound continues moving as it travels through fluids and soft tissues but bounces back when it hits a relatively solid, dense surface. Ultrasound moves freely through the bile in your gallbladder, for example, but echoes back when it hits a gallstone. Ultrasound waves also travel freely through blood in your veins and arteries, but bounce back when they hit obstructions inside your blood vessels.

A computer generates faint electrical pulses that the ultrasound machine turns into sound waves. An ultrasound specialist uses a handheld transducer, which looks like a wand, to send the sound waves into your body. This transducer also listens for any sound waves that bounce back then sends information about those bounced waves back to the computer, which generates an image.

There are many different types of ultrasound. Standard ultrasound creates gray-scale image of the architecture of the body part. These gray-scale images look like black and white photographs; they show incredible detail that make it easy to discern features, like veins and arteries, but they do not assess motion or blood flow. Standard ultrasound can create a picture of plaque in an artery, for example, but does not detect or measure blood flow.

Doppler ultrasound can detect and measure blood flow. It works by bouncing sound waves off red blood cells flowing through your blood vessels. The computer receiving the bounced sound waves interprets the information and creates a color picture. The Doppler ultrasound computer will show blood flowing towards the transducer in red and depict blood flowing away from the transducer in blue. Different shades of red and blue represent the velocity at which blood flows through your veins; lighter color shades of red or blue mean blood is moving quickly while darker shades indicate slow-moving blood. Sometimes the computer will show turbulent blood flow in yellow or green. The computer also converts the sounds into a graph to give your doctor information about the speed and direction of blood flow through a particular blood vessel.

Duplex ultrasound is a combination of standard ultrasound and Doppler ultrasound. The computer overlays images from Doppler ultrasound onto standard ultrasound images. This helps your Columbus vein doctors determine whether your blood is flowing well and identify any structures that might be interfering with blood flow.

Duplex ultrasound is a painless, non-invasive test that helps doctors in many ways. Vascular surgeons rely on this technology to the size, location and pathway of varicose veins.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Vein Disease

Vein disease is not unusual. In fact, more than 80 million Americans have some type of vein disease. Your risk is higher if you are female, overweight, or pregnant. Venous disease is hereditary, and you are also at higher risk if your family members have varicose or spider veins.

You can get minimally invasive and effective treatment if you have varicose or spider veins or another type of vein disease. At a Columbus vein clinic, vascular surgeons can diagnose and treat your condition in the best way for your individual case. Using modern and accurate techniques such as duplex ultrasound for diagnosis and ultrasound guided sclerotherapy and laser ablation to get rid of offending veins, Columbus vein doctors can keep you as healthy as possible when it comes to your veins.

Significance of Varicose and Spider Veins

Varicose and spider veins are signs of venous insufficiency, which is the term for when your blood is not returned to your heart as well as it should. The cause of venous insufficiency is that the valves in your veins that prevent blood from flowing backwards are weakened. The result is that extra blood collects in your veins. For example, varicose veins are the result of blood pooling in your lower legs instead of being returned to the heart for recirculation.

Venous insufficiency can lead to varicose veins which can get worse over time. Varicose veins can also be a risk factor for dangerous blood clots. Since varicose and spider veins can be signs of a serious underlying medical issue, it is important to get them diagnosed and treated by vascular surgeons.

Diagnosis of Vein Disease

Columbus vein doctors can begin by diagnosing your vein disease. They may examine your veins and look at your medical history. They can also use tools such as duplex ultrasound to visualize the flow of blood in your blood vessels. The exam is painless. With this information, vein doctors can diagnose your condition and suggest a course of treatment.

Treatment Options for Vein Disease

The days when painful vein stripping was your only option are over. The options you are likely to have at a high quality Ohio vein treatment center are less invasive. You might encounter the following terms.

  • Laser ablation, or the use of a catheter to deliver laser treatment to seal off the spider vein.
  • Sclerotherapy, which uses chemicals to close off surface spider veins.
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy, which removes varicose veins that are near the surface of your skin.
  • VNUS Closure, which is similar to laser ablation but uses radiofrequency waves instead of laser heat.

These vein treatment strategies may require only a day or two of recovery and little anesthesia. You may have very little bruising or pain, and you could see results in just one or a few visits, with each session lasting less than an hour.

Understanding the Difference Between a Duplex Ultrasound and a Standard Ultrasound When Used for Varicose Vein Diagnostics

Before any treatment can be done to painful, swollen varicose veins, it is important to get a better understanding of the situation. Columbus vein doctors will often order a series of imagining tests, such as an ultrasound, to get a better, more in-depth look at the area where the varicose veins are occurring.

A duplex ultrasound is the preferred diagnostic testing procedure used by many Columbus vein surgeons. This method is often recommended over the standard ultrasound, as it provides a clearer, more detailed analysis of the veins.

Understanding the difference between the two diagnostic procedures can help you feel better prepared when you seek treatment for your varicose veins.

The Standard Ultrasound – Detecting Anatomical Structures

Standard ultrasounds rely upon the use of sound waves to capture images. This diagnostic procedure is often used to obtain detailed images of anatomical structures located in the chest, abdomen, or pelvis. 

While standard ultrasounds are ideal for capturing the details of the anatomical structure, it does not show movement. Detection of movement is essential when working with varicose veins, as it will show the vein doctors how the blood if slowing in the veins. 

The Duplex Ultrasound – Detecting Motion and Anatomical Structures

Duplex ultrasounds combine two imaging procedures into one diagnostic procedure. The imaging procedures that are combined in this diagnostic procedure include the gray-scale ultrasound, which is the standard ultrasound, and a color Doppler ultrasound.

Combining the two imagining procedures into one test allows doctors to fully understand what is occurring when varicose veins are present. The Columbus vein doctors will use the images present from this test to see blood flow to the veins, assess the size and shape of the veins, and determine if another condition or illness may be causing the varicose veins.

Is Ultrasound Imaging Always Required When Seeking Treatment for Varicose Veins?

Most Columbus vein treatment centers will require patients to undergo a Duplex ultrasound as part of the diagnostic process when seeking help for varicose veins. This imagining helps doctors and surgeons determine the best course of treatment for your varicose veins.

Duplex ultrasounds are a regular part of the diagnostic process at The Columbus Vein Center in Columbus, Ohio. This allows our patients to feel confident that they are receiving proper treatment for their varicose veins. Schedule an appointment today to discuss varicose veins with one of our vein doctors and see what treatment options may be available to you.

What is Duplex Ultrasound?

When you visit a vein clinic for treatment, the surgeon will often begin by performing an exam and using various tests to assess your condition. One such test is known as "duplex ultrasound."

About Duplex Ultrasound

Duplex ultrasound is a technology vein specialists use to visualize your veins, make a diagnosis and determine the best course of treatment. Ultrasound technology may also be used to guide various treatments, such as sclerotherapy. When ultrasound is used in this way, it can improve the effectiveness of treatment. 

What to Expect

Most vein clinics will perform duplex ultrasound before recommending or performing any treatment procedures. Duplex ultrasound is not invasive or painful. During the procedure, your doctor will simply apply some ultrasound gel to the skin around your abnormal veins. He or she will then press a wand into the skin to create an image on an electronic screen. Although you may feel some pressure during the procedure, you will not feel pain. The procedure can be performed in your doctor’s office without any anesthesia or complications. 

What Happens Next?

After the duplex ultrasound procedure is complete, your vascular surgeon will review the results of the test. He or she will also review your medical history and the results of your physical exam. Based on this information, your surgeon will recommend various treatment options. Options that may be recommended include sclerotherapy, endovenous laser therapy, VNUS Closure or ambulatory phlebectomy. If you choose to proceed with the recommended treatment, you can schedule your session after receiving the surgeon’s recommendation. 

How Do I Learn More?

If you suspect that you have varicose veins and/or spider veins on any location in your body, you can learn more about your options by making an appointment at a vein clinic. Making an appointment will also give you the chance to undergo duplex ultrasound. To make an appointment in Columbus, please contact the Columbus Vein Center today. 

What to Expect from Duplex Ultrasound

Many patients who undergo vascular treatment begin the process with a procedure known as duplex ultrasound.  Doctors often use this diagnostic procedure to find out more about varicose veins that appear to need treatment. They sometimes also use it to track spider veins before getting rid of them.  Understanding what the procedure entails can help patients know what to expect when scheduling the test.

What Exactly is This Diagnostic Test?

This procedure tests how the blood of a patient with vascular symptoms moves through veins and arteries.  According to MedlinePlus, it combines Doppler ultrasound with traditional ultrasound.

The traditional type takes advantage of sound waves bouncing off blood vessels to form images.  Doppler technology records sound waves as they bounce off objects in motion, such as blood flowing.  It measures the speed at which they travel and other considerations related to how they move.

Physicians often use this combined process to diagnose the following disorders:

  • Abdominal aneurysms
  • Arterial occlusions
  • Blood clots
  • Carotid occlusive disease
  • Renal vascular disease
  • Venous insufficiency

Stony Brook Medicine reports that this technology is an important tool for vein doctors at a vein clinic in evaluating an individual with varicose or spider veins, along with a health history and a physical exam.  All three help vascular surgeons develop a personalized treatment for each vein patient.

What Patients Can Expect Before Vein Treatment

There is usually no special preparation for this type of test to diagnose vascular issues.  However, the Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University says that patients scheduled to undergo an abdominal ultrasound are typically asked not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the preceding night.

During the procedure, a patient lies a table.  Sometimes it is necessary to wear a special gown.  The technician applies a gel to each area targeted for the exam.

This test involves moving a wand known as a transducer over the area to be evaluated, according to MedlinePlus.  This device emits sound waves.  A computerized measurement indicates how these waves reflect back and interprets them into images that look like pictures. 

During the test, a patient might hear a swishing type of sound.  This is actually the sound of the individual’s blood as it moves through blood vessels.

Patients need to remain still for the duration of the procedure.  At times, it might be necessary to change the position of the body or to hold your breath. 

During tests involving the legs, the provider will sometimes want to calculate what is called an ankle-brachial index.  This requires wearing blood pressure cuffs on both the arms and the legs.

Most patients report no discomfort during this combined type of ultrasound.  However, it is possible to feel pressure with the movement of the wand.  There are no particular risks associated with this procedure.