Doppler ultrasound of the lower extremities is a painless non-invasive ultrasound examination that allows you to assess the condition of the arteries and veins of the lower extremities and the surrounding soft tissues.
- The presence of pain and tightness along the veins
- The presence of enlarged veins and vascular formations in the upper layer of skin (asterisks)
- Pain in the legs when walking and at rest
- Swelling of the legs
- The presence of varicose veins and nodes of the lower extremities
- Heaviness in the legs
- Numbness, tingling, sensation "running ants"
- Constant coldness of the skin
- The formation of ulcers on the skin and the presence of light brown spots in the legs
- Muscle hypotension, atrophy
Even in the absence of the described symptoms, Doppler imaging is recommended periodically for people with a history of heart attack, stroke, hypertension or diabetes. It is not superfluous to check pregnant women and those who smoke for a long time. The earlier any abnormalities are detected, the more effective the treatment and the lower the risk of life-threatening situations. Also, this examination is often used to establish the effectiveness of the patient's therapy, as well as to monitor the condition of arteries and veins after surgery.
The survey has no age restrictions or contraindications.
The examination does not require special training, except to eliminate factors that can affect the tone of the arteries. It is recommended to stop taking medications that may affect vascular tone a few days before the scan and to warn your doctor about other medications you are taking. It is also recommended to limit yourself to energy drinks, tea and coffee. This also applies to heavy physical activity, smoking, visiting the sauna or bath.
If you have skin lesions (wounds, burns, rashes) in the area of diagnosis, it is advisable to postpone the visit to the ultrasound room until complete healing.
Stages of implementation
- The patient must have free access to the legs from the groin to the heels
- On a special sensor of the device apply a special gel that improves the conductivity and, accordingly, the visualization of the image.
- For 20-30 minutes, the doctor alternately examines and records all the necessary anatomical structures.
- After the procedure, the remnants of the applied gel are wiped and issue a conclusion with the results.
What the survey shows
During the ultrasound of the vessels of the lower extremities, the doctor may assess:
- Assessment of the degree of patency of the vessels of the lower extremities (arteries and veins) and the level of their damage. The fact of the presence and nature of inclusions (atherosclerotic plaques, thrombi, stratification (dissection) of the intima, foreign bodies and emboli, aneurysms) inside the lumen of the arteries and the degree of violation of the working lumen of the arteries (stenosis). For veins - also the fact of the presence and nature of inclusions (thrombi, foreign bodies) inside the lumen of the veins and the degree of violation of the working lumen of the veins (recanalization, varicothrombosis)
- Study of the vascular wall of the vessels of the legs and perivascular (perivascular) tissues
- Investigation of Doppler characteristics of blood flow in the arteries and veins of the legs
- The state of the compensatory bypass circulatory system - collateral circulation, especially in thrombosis of the deep venous system of the lower extremities
- Monitoring the condition of arteries and veins after surgery.
- Ultrasound of the vessels of the legs also attaches great importance to the echostructure of the dermis of the skin, edema of subcutaneous fat (hypodermis), lymph nodes, periarticular structures (for example - Becker's cyst)
What deviations can be set
First of all, it should be noted that any test results should be evaluated not only by a functional diagnostician, but also by another specialist (phlebologist, surgeon) for further examinations.
Doppler of the vessels of the lower extremities can detect the following diseases:
- Varicose veins - a pathology that leads to blood stasis in the veins. In turn, stagnant blood leads to dilation of the vessel in certain areas. As a result, as the disease progresses, edema occurs, varicose veins appear under the skin, the skin itself darkens. In the running case, trophic ulcers may occur.
- Thrombophlebitis - a complication of varicose veins, in which the walls of blood vessels become inflamed. Blood flow slows down, blood clots form.
- Thrombosis - a pathological condition in which blood clots form that clog the lumen of the vein and interfere with normal blood flow. As a result, there is swelling and pain when walking.
- Atherosclerosis is a disease that leads to the deposition of cholesterol plaques and fats on the walls of blood vessels. As a result, the venous walls lose elasticity, thicken, narrow the lumen of the vessel. There is pain and heaviness in the legs.
Important to remember! Ultrasound examination data is not a definitive diagnosis, may require additional laboratory and instrumental examinations, interpretation of the results by a phlebologist, surgeon.
Varicose veins are among the most common pathologies of venous vessels. According to statistics, most often women suffer from varicose veins (more than 60%). This disease is dangerous because it can begin unnoticed and last for many years, causing many complications, including extremely serious. Basic prevention of varicose veins, which can be done at home, will help prevent the development of this disease or slow down its course and avoid complications.
- Try to keep your leg muscles in shape, which will help daily running or walking. Trained muscles prevent the walls of blood vessels from dilating and knots from forming
- Avoid prolonged static loads on the legs, ie, standing still in one position
- Choose shoes with low heels. As a last resort, if you need shoes with high heels, try to change shoes during the day with different heel heights
- Avoid sitting postures that impede blood flow to the lower extremities, such as leg-to-leg postures.
- Control your weight, because extra pounds increase the load on the legs
- Try not to wear for a long time things that tighten the legs or waist
- It will also be very wise to choose and regularly perform a good set of exercises that improve blood circulation in the lower extremities.
As for various drugs, for example, to thin the blood, they should be used only after consulting a doctor. And if you still have the above manifestations of varicose veins, you need to see a doctor and start vascular treatment immediately, without putting it in a long box.
Everyone can face atherosclerosis of the vessels of the lower extremities, so it is very important to know how to prevent this disease:
- Lifestyle changes (smoking cessation, alcohol, diet with restriction of animal fats)
- Exemption from excess weight
- Normalization of physical activity, increasing tolerance to physical activity
- Control of blood pressure and prevention of hypertension
- Control of blood sugar
- Prevention of myocardial infarction or stroke
- Dispensary observation of chronic diseases.
Adherence to all recommendations for the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis and varicose veins will help avoid further progression of the disease and the development of complications.