Once vascular disease is suspected, the first step is to determine the extent and severity of the disease. Usually, the first step involves a diagnostic ultrasound. Unlike, x-rays and CT scans ultrasound uses no radiation but rather uses the speed of sound waves to determine the severity of disease and create real-time images. Imaging is often performed and the study read in the ambulatory office. Most vascular ultrasounds are duplex ultrasounds. Duplex meaning two forms of imaging, – an image of the vessel and looking at the speed of the blood traveling within the vessels themselves. This helps to determine the anatomy of the problem as well as the severity of the disease.
Vascular ultrasounds are often used as an initial screening tool. They can also be used to follow patients’ disease post-operatively. In many cases, an initial ultrasound gives the surgeon enough information to determine the most appropriate form of treatment. However, sometimes more imaging such as a CTA or MRI is needed to best determine the next steps.
The quality of the ultrasound is determined by the ultrasound machine, the experience of the technician, and the physician who reads the ultrasound. Patients should make sure their studies are read by a physician who specializes in reading vascular studies. This extra qualification is referred to as “RPVI” which stands for “registered physician in vascular interpretation”. This certification ensures that physicians have the skills needed to evaluate vascular studies.
Dr. Jenna Kazil at Florida Surgical Clinic in Bradenton, Manatee County, Florida is RPVI certified with a vast experience interpreting vascular studies and treating vascular diseases. For quality surgical care delivered by the most compassionate of surgeons, contact Dr. Jenna Kazil at the Florida Surgical Clinic for your vascular and general surgery needs.