If anyone remembers opening a road map, well before Google Maps came along, you would see a vast sea of squiggly red and blue lines running across the paper. These lines represented various highways and interstates crisscrossing the terrain. We would run our fingers along them to figure out how to get from one point to another. Instead of GPS, we would have to figure out what route to take.
Just like a road map is used for navigation, vein maps provide pictures of all the veins (routes) under the skin. It gives a vascular surgeon the size, depth, and flow of blood in these veins and are used in the diagnosis of vein disease and treatments.
Vein mapping is created with an ultrasound probe using doppler technique. Ultrasounds emit high-frequency sound waves throughout the body. The sound waves are recorded and turned into photos. The sound waves can also track the speed at which the blood cells are flowing within the blood vessels.
A vein mapping examination is also used to assist the physician in determining if the veins can be used as a bypass. Examples of this include bypass grafts in the legs and the creation of a fistula for dialysis.
Vein mapping can be performed to create a "map" of your leg veins for a vascular surgeon in preparation for various procedures such as bypass graft surgery (replacing diseased vessels in your body with the healthy vein from your leg).
Vein mapping helps determine the best position for a fistula - a blood vessel made wider and stronger by a surgeon to handle the needles that allow blood to flow out to and return from a dialysis machine. Veins need to be of sufficient size and flow to be successfully used as a fistula. A fistula must be placed anywhere from 3 to 6 months prior to use on dialysis.
If you feel heaviness, aching, itching, cramping, fatigue, throbbing, burning or leg restlessness, you may have a vein disease and a noninvasive vein map may help determine where the abnormal veins are located.
To learn more about vein diseases and treatment, schedule an appointment with us today.