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Varicose Veins

How Are Varicose Veins Diagnosed?

Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 13:10

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Physicians use a variety of techniques to diagnose the severity of varicose veins.

  • A simple test called the Trendelenburg test, in which the leg is raised above the level of the heart at a 45 degree angle until the veins are emptied, then quickly lowered. When you stand up, varicose veins, if present, become distended almost immediately.
  • A physician may tie a band, or tourniquet, around the upper part of a person's leg, which stops the flow of blood to the leg and makes varicose veins easier to identify.

Rarely, more detailed tests are required, usually to exclude any other problems. They may include:

  • Ultrasound, a diagnostic technique in which high frequency sound waves are used to measure blood flow in deep and surface veins.
  • Venography - uses X-ray technology to measure blood flow in the deep veins.

For further information about ultrasound, go to Ultrasound.

Varicose Veins