What to Expect During a Venous Ultrasound

For most ultrasound exams, you are positioned lying face-up on an examination table that can be tilted or moved.

A clear water-based gel is applied to the area of the body being studied to help the transducer make secure contact with the body and eliminate air pockets between the transducer and the skin. The sonographer (ultrasound technologist) or radiologist then presses the transducer firmly against the skin and sweeps it over the area of interest.

Doppler ultrasound is performed using the same transducer.

The sonographer or radiologist is often able to review the ultrasound images in real-time as they are acquired and you can be released immediately. There may be an occasion, however, where you are asked to dress and wait while the ultrasound images are reviewed.

Time Consideration

This ultrasound examination is usually completed within 30 minutes.

Other Factors

Most ultrasound examinations are painless, fast and easy.

If scanning is performed over an area of tenderness, you may feel pressure or minor pain from the transducer.

Ultrasound exams in which the transducer is inserted into an opening of the body may produce minimal discomfort.

If a Doppler ultrasound study is performed, you may actually hear pulse-like sounds that change in pitch as the blood flow is monitored and measured.

Once the imaging is complete, the gel will be wiped off your skin.

After an ultrasound exam, you should be able to resume your normal activities within a few hours.

Limitations of Venous Ultrasound

Veins lying deep beneath the skin, especially small veins in the calf, may be hard to see.