Leg Vein Imaging & Intervention

Patients experiencing swelling of the legs and varicose veins are at risk for a condition known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), a blood clot disorder with potentially serious medical consequences.

Using non-invasive ultrasonic imaging for leg vein abnormalities helps physicians diagnose and treat a wide range of conditions quickly and effectively. This high-definition imaging technology captures pictures of the internal structure of the leg's vascular system by reading sound waves, a process known as sonography.

Ultrasound technology is often the preferred diagnostic technique because it doesn't require radiation. To perform the procedure, the technologist uses a handheld device called a transducer, which uses sonic energy to generate on-screen images. The device emits high-frequency soundwaves that bounce off the tissues inside the body, creating echo waves that are measured and translated into extremely detailed pictures.

Why would I need leg vein imaging?

Leg vein ultrasound imaging is typically used to identify potentially harmful blood clots in the legs. A dislodged blood clot can travel to the lungs, leading to pulmonary embolism, so it is crucial to have a fully detailed, accurate, real-time image of the veins and blood vessels. In some patients, the condition might be urgent. However, effective treatment is available if caught early.

Ultrasound imaging is also used to guide needle catheter placement during intravascular procedures and diagnose potentially damaged blood valves and suboptimal blood flow.

What does leg vein imaging do?

Ultrasound imaging captures images of the extensive network of veins throughout the legs, even within relatively dense tissue. 

During the procedure, the technologist positions the patient on the examination table to best visualize the target area. Before the screening, the doctor applies a water-based gel to the exam site to minimize sound wave distortion and ensure the most precise picture.

After the gel is applied, the doctor passes the transducer back and forth over the examination site until a clear image appears on the computer monitor. The image is then analyzed for potential vein abnormalities.

How do I prepare for leg vein imaging?

Before the procedure, you might be instructed to refrain from eating or drinking anything except water for eight hours. However, most patients do not have to make special preparations for the screening. 

How long does leg vein imaging take?

Ultrasound leg vein imaging generally takes approximately 45 minutes.

Does leg vein imaging have any risks?

Ultrasound technology carries no known medical risks. The process is non-invasive, so there is no risk of infection. Because venous ultrasounds do not require contrast medium injections (a dye that helps the technician visualize the individual veins), there is no opportunity for an allergic response.

However, because ultrasound imaging doesn't always capture veins deep under the skin, some conditions might be missed, requiring further testing.

At Valley Radiology, our board-certified doctors offer in-depth experience conducting leg vein imaging screenings and help diverse patients address serious medical issues with minimal discomfort. Please contact our helpful team to schedule an appointment today.