Sunday, March 22, 2015

What to Expect During a Venous Ultrasound

Some people may undergo an ultrasound of their legs before or after surgery to check the blood flow as well as to make sure there are no blood clots. A venous ultrasound is also done when your doctor suspects you may have blood clots because of swelling or tenderness.

What is an ultrasound?
An ultrasound which is also sometimes called a sonogram, is an image of internal structures. Sound waves are transmitted through the hand held part of the machine and are converted into electrical impulses. The monitor part of the ultrasound machine shows the images and records them so a radiologist can read the results.

What to Expect During a Venous Ultrasound.
You will be asked to lie face up on the examination bed. You may be asked to bend one leg so the technician can reach the inside of your leg. Since the transducer needs to be pressed firmly against the inside of the leg you may feel some tenderness or pain when the technician presses the transducer into the inner thigh.

The transducer is coated with a colorless, odorless gel so it can easily move over the body part being scanned. The technician will move the transducer over the inside of each leg, from the feet to your groin area.

If a Doppler ultrasound is performed at the same time, it is done using the same transducer and you may hear a loud pulse or heart beat like noise as the blood flow is monitored and measured.

The technician may have to apply some pressure while holding the transducer to your skin and it may be a little painful when he presses down. When I had my venous ultrasound a few years ago, the technician squeezed my calf and pressed the transducer into my inner thigh and it was a little painful. But the entire procedure only took about 30 minutes.

Why would a Venous Ultrasound be Necessary?
According to "The most common reason for a venous ultrasound exam is to search for blood clots, especially in the veins of the leg. This condition is often referred to as deep vein thrombosis or DVT. These clots may break off and pass into the lungs, where they can cause a dangerous condition called pulmonary embolism. If the blood clot in the leg is found early enough, treatment can be started to prevent it from passing to the lung."

A few years ago my doctor ordered a bi-lateral venous ultrasound of my legs because my feet and ankles started swelling for no reason. Bi-lateral means both legs.

How To Prepare:
Wear comfortable clothing, you may be asked to take off your pants and put on a gown. There is no other preparation necessary for a Venous ultrasound procedure.

Once the ultrasound is complete the technician will wipe away the gel and let you get dressed.