Many specialists around the world have asked us to set up a training course on duplex ultrasound. As a result, my colleagues and I are in the process of establishing an Academy to train doctors with an interest in venous disease how to perform a thorough and detailed duplex ultrasound scan of the veins of the leg. In a future post, I will formally announce details of the VeinCare Academy.
Colour Duplex Ultrasound is Essential in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Varicose Veins.
Ultrasound has really revolutionised the way that doctors treat varicose veins and related conditions. We do not use just an ordinary ultrasound machine — the machine that you might be familiar with for diagnosing gallstones or looking at pregnant mothers and their babies — this is a special sort of ultrasound called duplex. Now what do I mean by “duplex”? Well the ultrasound builds up a picture of the structures the blood vessels the veins so that we can see it on the screen but then it also superimposes the flow of blood and the direction so that we can tell where there are problems with veins. Whether there are blockages whether there are problems with the valves and whether there is flow in the wrong direction so-called “reflux”.
When you come for your scan, the whole leg will be scanned from the top of the thigh down towards your ankle, even if the vein problems seem to be confined to one area. A water based gel is used to allow the sound waves into the leg so that a picture of the vein and the blood flow in it can be built up. In this scan we are looking at the top of the leg where the main superficial vein joins the deep vein in the groin. And you can see the delicate little folds in the lining which in this case are not meeting properly and so when I squeeze the leg blood will go up which is the correct direction but when I let go because the valves are not meeting properly blood comes down in the wrong direction. We call that reflux. The ultrasound equipment is configured such that blood flow going up the leg looks blue on the colour duplex. When I let go there should not be any colour because the valves should be shutting and there should be no down flow of blood but in this case we can see that blood is coming down in the wrong direction and it shows as a red signal. In this scan, red on the duplex ultrasound shows us that there is reflux and it shows us exactly where that reflux is coming from.
In the first of four free instructional videos, my colleague Michelle Moore explains how to perform a scan of the superficial veins. Future videos will demonstrate how to scan the deep veins, perforator veins and how to set up the scanner to get the best images and to be sure to detect obstruction and reflux.
If you would like to know more about our training courses and to find out more about the VeinCare Academy please do get in touch. Our advisors are very happy to send you details of our forthcoming training events and courses. Call now on 01935 873 951.
Also, if you’re worried about your veins and would like a confidential chat please do get in touch. Our advisors are very happy to offer simple advice by telephone or email for free and without obligation. You can call and book an appointment direct without a referral from your GP.
The VeinCare Centre also offers a screening assessment with our vascular technologist. For £25 you can have a scan with Wendy Parsons. She is not a doctor and so she could not give you medical advice but she can check your deep veins and your varicose veins and give you an idea of how bad they are. If you would like to have an appointment with Wendy please call 01935 873 951