Vascular Associates of Northern Virginia

Timely and considerate care of the arterial and venous systems.

What is a Venous Duplex Imaging Study?

Venous duplex, venous ultrasound, or venous doppler, is an ultrasound diagnostic examination used to evaluate the veins in the body.  Much like the ultrasound used to check babies in pregnant women, gel is applied to the area of interest, such as legs or arms, and an ultrasound machine with a connected probe is used to visualize the veins.

Possible reasons to order a venous duplex:

  • To evaluate the veins for the presence of deep vein thrombosis, or what is commonly referred to as DVT.
  • To evaluate the veins for venous insufficiency or venous reflux in people who have certain signs and symptoms such as heavy legs, spider veins, or varicose veins.
  • Vein mapping is another test using venous duplex to map the veins in either the arms or legs.  This is commonly ordered when a patient is in need to have a vascular bypass or access for dialysis.

No specific preparation is needed prior to the test.  Hydration or drinking water, however, is recommended if you are having a vein mapping study.  It helps to dilate your veins and increases the chance of better visualization.  The other thing needed for the study is ability to have access to the skin where the vein lies beneath.  So if the area to be scanned is covered by a bandage or a wrap, they must be removed before the study otherwise those areas will not be scanned.

The study consists of applying a water based gel on the skin and running the probe over the skin to see the veins.  Ultrasound waves or beams cannot travel through air, so the gel helps in removing the air and creating a tight contact between the probe and the skin.  Depending on the purpose of the study, the technologist might be pressing on the skin with the probe or squeezing with the other hand on a certain area to evaluate the blood flow.  Sometimes the patient might be asked to perform a certain way of breathing to evaluate the blood flow.  Overall, the venous duplex study is a non-invasive study to evaluate the veins.


Vascular Associates of Northern Virginia, P.C.
Vascular Lab

Our Vascular Surgeons:
Robert S. Podolsky, M.D.
Avisesh Sahgal, M.D.

2 comments on “What is a Venous Duplex Imaging Study?

  1. Pingback: Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) | Vascular Associates of Northern Virginia, P.C.

  2. Pingback: What is an Arterial Duplex? | Vascular Associates of Northern Virginia, P.C.

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