Understanding Venous Insufficiency: Diagnosis and Monitoring with Ultrasound

Are you experiencing leg cramps at night and feeling leg heaviness? If yes, you may have developed venous insufficiency, a vascular disease. It affects your leg veins and creates a blood pool in the veins which causes many symptoms. While it’s not a severe condition, however, over time it may cause painful and disabling symptoms. Learn about venous insufficiency and how ultrasound is beneficial for your venous insufficiency diagnosis and treatment. Get a consultation with the best cardiologists in Brooklyn.


What is venous insufficiency?

Chronic venous insufficiency happens when your veins, especially your legs, don’t work properly to send blood back to the heart for reprocessing. It happens because the vein valves or supporting tissues stop working which fails to send the blood back to the heart.

Normally, the heart supplies blood through arteries into the legs. To reprocess, the leg has veins that send blood back to the heart. Veins use valves and support tissue to push blood back to the heart. If either those tissues or valves get damaged or stop working, the blood can’t go to the heart and collects in the vein. This causes symptoms such as:

  • Swelling
  • Leg cramps especially at night.
  • Leg heaviness and fatigue
  • Varicose veins (bulged and twisted veins)
  • Leg ulcers
  • Skin changes and discoloration.
  • Burning and tingling sensation in the legs.
  • Leg ulcers

While this condition is not life-threatening, it causes severe complications that are painful and disabling. So, early diagnosis and treatment are necessary to prevent complications.


Diagnostic tests

For diagnosis, the doctor carefully examines your leg and checks the symptoms by conducting a physical exam. Then, to confirm the suspicion, the doctor performs a vascular ultrasound test.

This is a painless non-invasive test that uses sound waves to create images of the veins on the computer which are examined by the doctor. It shows which parts of the veins are not working properly. There is no early preparation required before this test.

During this procedure, you need to lie down on the ultrasound table and the technician applies a gel on the affected part of the body. Then, the technician adjusts the table and transducer to make sure it is above the affected part of the body. The transducer sends the sound waves and records the echoes of those returning waves. The recorded sound waves contain tiny changes in sound’s pitch and direction that occur in the organs, fluids, and tissues. A computer measures the recorded sound and displays real-time images on the monitor. They may try to capture one or more frames of those moving pictures as still and create short video loops of the images which are later examined by the doctor.

Doctors may use Doppler ultrasound as an alternative, as this special ultrasound technique can measure the direction and speed of blood cells as they move through vessels. The computer collects and processes the sound and produces color pictures of blood flow through blood vessels.

In case your healthcare provider suspects some other medical conditions that may cause your symptoms, they may order an MRI as well.


Importance and benefits of ultrasound for venous insufficiency

There are many benefits of ultrasound for venous insufficiency and several other vascular conditions:

  1. Painless diagnosis test:

Ultrasound tests use sound waves at low frequencies which are not harmful to your body. You may get uncomfortable with sound waves but won’t feel any pain.

  1. Mostly covered by insurance:

Most medical insurance covers ultrasound screening, if you are experiencing severe vascular disease symptoms, just talk with your insurance provider before scheduling your appointment to ensure your diagnostic procedure is covered.

  1. Quick and accurate results:

Your leg has many veins, and a physical exam alone can’t find the exact cause. The scan immediately produces detailed images of blood flows of the veins on the computer for the doctor to examine and find which veins are affected by venous insufficiency.

  1. Guides treatment:

Ultrasound is not only used for diagnosis but also treatment as well. Treatment like sclerotherapy and laser ablation helps the doctor to guide the needle or catheter inside the affected vein. Targeting the exact location of the diseased vein helps to reduce the risk of treating the wrong vein and causing any complications.

  1. Show treatment progress:

The doctor also uses ultrasound images to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment in real time. For example, if treatment fails to close the affected vein, the doctor will adjust the dosage or use another technique to destroy the vein and free up blood flow.


Venous insufficiency is a vascular disease that occurs when leg veins get damaged and don’t send blood back to the heart for reprocessing. To avoid complications, you should note the signs and symptoms of venous insufficiency and take an ultrasound test to find the affected vein and get treated.


If you are experiencing venous insufficiency symptoms, come to our vascular clinic in Brooklyn for proper diagnosis and treatment. Call us on +1(347) 384-5690. The Cardiologists at Doral Health & Wellness consistently have outstanding patient satisfaction ratings. The professionals at Heart Specialist Brooklyn are able to greatly improve their patient’s health and quality of life because of their vast training and experience. New Yorkers can get the greatest medical, surgical, and cardiovascular care at Doral Health & Wellness Brooklyn. Visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11212.