If you are afflicted by lipedema and wish to get treatment, a venous examination will be essential. But what does « venous examination » means exactly and what is the point, if you have already been diagnosed with lipedema ?
What is a venous examination ?
The venous examination, also called the Doppler Ultrasound examination, is an medical imaging which consists in observing the veins of legs and arms, as well as their blood streams, on moving images. It relies on two methods : the first, one which you certainly know, is the echography. The second is the Doppler function : the echographic probe studies the frequency of the sound waves, which is modified if the waves are reflected by a moving target. In the case which interests us, it is the red cells, the blood stream.
The goal is to enable a better diagnosis of your issues, and of the impact it has on your limbs. The venous network will be clearly transcribed, and typically associated to a code of colors : blue if the blood stream is normal, red if it is upstream (which indicated a reflux).
How does it work ?
The examination relies on ultrasounds, with a probe moved on the targeted limbs. This method has numerous advantages : it is perfectly painless, harmless, non-intrusive. Therefore, it can be recommended at any age, and repeated as many times as necessary – which is very useful to note the progression of the lipedema and the impact of the treatments. It also enables the identification and the localisation of venous thrombosis, as well as the size of the clot blocking the vein. It is of course very useful if you’re suffering from lipedema, frequently associated with a higher risk of thrombosis.
How does the examination work in practice ?
The examination will necessarily be conducted by a specialist – whether a radiologist, a doctor or a vascular surgeon. After having asked you some questions about your health, your treatments or the surgery you may have done, they will ask you to sit on a stool, first front to them, then back to them. In some cases, you could also be sitting on the exam table.
They will then apply a gel on your limbs (your arms or legs), which will enable the ultrasounds to better circulate, and will apply the probe on your skin. They may perform some pressure movements with the probe, in order to better study the sense of the blood steam and diagnose a possible reflux or thrombosis.
The exam generally lasts thirty minutes : keep that in mind when you make the appointment. Avoid to apply creams or oils on your skin before, since they can interfere with the ultrasounds. As we have seen, the doctor will apply a gel in any case.
How are the images constructed ?
The examination is registered by a computer, which will then convert the images in movements. The doctor will therefore be able to study the movements to his leisure, and make you a detailed reporting.