Ultrasound imaging (also known as sonography) has been called “the most important advance in medicine during the last half of the 20th century,” and with good reason. It allows our vein specialist in New Orleans to “see inside the body” without having to break the skin, invade a body cavity, or use sometimes-dangerous X-rays. As a result, ultrasound has ushered in an age of minimally-invasive interventional radiology (IR) treatment techniques that have revolutionized surgery. Before ultrasound, many diseases had to be treated with invasive surgery, which meant that doctors had to make deep incisions that required general anesthesia and resulted in post-surgical pain, scarring, and long recovery periods. Newer ultrasound-guided IR procedures have eliminated the need for all of that, and have made possible treatments that are so trauma-free they can be performed in your doctor’s offices.
What exactly IS ultrasound?
Technically, the term “ultrasound” refers to sound waves that have a frequency higher than humans can hear. In practice, these sound waves – generated by an ultrasound wand or transducer – pass harmlessly through skin, muscle tissue, blood vessels, bone, and organs. As they do, they bounce off of these objects and return to a computer, which creates a “sonic map” of the area being scanned.
Standard ultrasound, Doppler ultrasound, and Duplex ultrasound
Standard ultrasound creates a two-dimensional, gray-scale image that is useful for viewing the internal structures of an area of the body. This type of ultrasound is often used in the diagnosis of vein diseases, because it shows the structure of your veins to detect abnormalities, and to detect any blockages to them. Standard ultrasound is also used by New Orleans varicose vein specialists to precisely guide tiny needles into place to close diseased blood vessels.
Unfortunately, standard ultrasound can’t really display blood as it flows through your veins. To see that, Louisiana vein doctors use Doppler ultrasound, which adds color to the images to display motion, so that doctors can determine whether blood is flowing as it should, or whether it is displaying reflux motion and flowing “backward.” This reflux blood flow is a symptom of chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), the most common cause of varicose veins.
Doppler ultrasound is sometimes combined with standard ultrasound to create Duplex ultrasound sonograms, which display both types of images at once. Duplex ultrasound is often used to diagnose and treat serious vein diseases like deep vein thrombosis(DVT).
Ultrasound is just one of the advanced technologies we use
Our vein clinic in New Orleans uses ultrasound and other state-of-the-art technologies that allow us to provide the best vein disease treatments possible. If you want to learn more about the advanced equipment we use to diagnose and treat vein disease, spend some time looking over the informative articles on our website.