Ultrasound is one of the essential diagnostic tools in medicine that have a wide range of uses in vascular surgery. It is popular in the diagnosis of vein problems. Ultrasound uses sound that travels through the body’s soft body tissues and fluids and is reflected on dense surfaces, making it possible to create images. The ultrasound machine generates harmless, painless, and inaudible sound waves that travel into the body. The reflected soundwaves are detected and converted into images to show the skin structures or underneath the skin.
The ultrasound scanner consists of a computer console, a transducer, and a video display screen. A transducer is a handheld device that emits a high-frequency and inaudible sound wave. It also receives reflected sound waves or echoes. A gel is applied to the area to be examined, and the transducer is placed in the same area. The gel allows the sound waves between the transducer and the area being examined.
The ultrasound is visible in real-time on the video display screen. The image created by the computer is based on the soundwave’s amplitude (loudness), frequency (pitch), and the time it takes for the ultrasound to reach the transducer. Besides, it takes into account the type of body tissue the signal is traveling through.
The ultrasound imaging works on the same principle used in sonar by bats, boats, submarines, and ships. When the ultrasound signal hits an object, it echoes back or is reflected. The echo signal is measured to determine the object’s distance, shape, size, and consistency. It can be established if the object is solid or filled with fluid.
The ultrasound machine can perform doppler testing to measure the flow of blood inside veins. This can be illustrated using a train siren or whistle that changes pitch (frequency) as it passes by you. That is the Doppler effect that refers to the change in the wave frequency in a relative motion between the observer and the sound wave source. If the sound object moves towards you, the frequency of the sound waves increases (pitch goes up).
Similarly, the ultrasound wave is reflected by the blood cells as they flow in the veins. The Doppler information can be visually layered on top of the ultrasound image to create a Duplex Ultrasound that can show the structures of the veins, the direction, and the velocity of the flowing flood. This information is essential in vein diagnosis.
Ultrasound tests are done To detect any blood clots in the leg veins, with the patient lying down while the physician compresses the vein. Healthy veins will compress, but veins with blood clots will not.
Testing While Standing Vs. Lying Down
Ultrasound tests for blood clots may not detect other problems such as leaking valves that could appear as varicose veins, especially if the patient was lying down during the test. When the patient is standing, the force of gravity is pulling blood down the veins in the legs. If the physician carries out the squeeze calf test, the blood will be pushed up by the squeeze, and if the vein valves are healthy, the doppler effect won’t detect the backflow because the vein valves are working correctly.
On the other hand, if the valves are leaking, the doppler will detect a blood backflow down the vein when the calf squeeze is released. Visit https://www.drscotthollander.com to learn more information.
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