Mapping of the Superficial Veins of the Arms and Legs
The superficial veins of the arms or legs may be used to replace blocked segments of the arteries in order to restore blood flow to the limbs. Duplex Scanning and Doppler Color flow Imaging may be requested prior to surgery to determine if the veins are of suitable size and length to be used to replace arterial segments.
The procedure is similar to that used for duplex examination of the upper and lower extremity arteries and veins as previously discussed. You will be asked to wear a hospital gown and to lie on your back on the examining table. Ultrasound acoustic gel will be placed on your arm or leg, following the course of the superficial veins. A small ultrasound probe will be used to image the vessel through the skin by sending safe, painless, high-frequency sound waves into the vessel and recording the images of the returned echoes. Doppler ultrasound will also be used to determine the blood flow patterns within the superficial veins. The technologist will measure the diameter of the vein from the image and determine if the vein is suitable for use as a bypass graft. As the course of the vein and its diameter are determined throughout the thigh and calf of the leg, a “map” of the vein may be drawn on the leg with a skin marking pen. This map will help the surgeon to decide if the vein can be used and the most suitable location for incision.