Duplex Ultrasound Defined
Generally performed by a credentialed medical professional in an accredited vascular facility, duplex ultrasounds allow physicians and technicians to see directly into a patient’s arteries and veins. An extremely useful diagnostic tool, duplex ultrasound aids in the detection of venous diseases and abnormalities, enabling doctors to more confidently deliver precise diagnoses and prescribe targeted and effective treatment modalities.
What It’s Good For
Unhealthy veins lead to a reduction in blood flow. A lack of adequate blood flow (otherwise known as venous insufficiency) can lead to a number of medical problems from the purely aesthetic (think spider veins) to the extremely serious (think heart attacks and strokes).
In addition to providing a view of the veins and arteries themselves, duplex ultrasound allows doctors to examine the blood flow within. The comprehensive nature of duplex ultrasound has made it truly indispensable in the diagnosis of conditions that range from blood clots and other arterial occlusions to varicose veins, aneurysms, and renal vascular disease.
How It Works
Duplex ultrasound is “duplex” in the sense that it employs two types of ultrasound technologies simultaneously. It uses traditional ultrasound to create images by bouncing sound waves internal structures such as blood vessels. It uses Doppler ultrasound to more specifically examine blood flow, taking advantage of Doppler’s capability to track the speed and direction of liquid substances.
The images produced by duplex ultrasound occur in real-time and appear clearly on a computer screen. Trained technicians and physicians can easily examine these images to spot vein obstructions, accumulating plaque, and venous insufficiency.
What to Expect
Although the duplex ultrasound procedure requires no real preparation, there are a few things that patients should keep in mind. For example, blood thinners and other medications that affect the blood can interfere with procedure results. Therefore, you should always notify your doctor/facility staff if you are taking any pharmaceuticals. Because smoking can also interfere with results by causing your blood vessels to narrow, patients are discouraged from smoking for several hours before the test. Of course, these same patients are also discouraged from smoking in general!
Before the procedure begins, a doctor or technician will expose the area being tested and administer a special gel that aids in the transduction of sound waves. The doctor/technician will then apply a wand to the area, emitting sound waves that are translated to pictures on the computer screen. The procedure is 100% safe, painless, and noninvasive. At the end, you simply wash the gel off your skin and go about your day.
Find Out More
If you live in Michigan, Texas, New Jersey, and New York and you want more information about duplex ultrasound technology, contact Metro Vein Centers today. A skilled and knowledgeable professional will be happy to discuss the diagnosis and treatment of your specific heath condition.