Venous Mapping Lower and Upper Extremities, Duplex ultrasound


  • Pre-operative for endovascular laser, radiofrequency (RF) or glue ablation, fistula formation, assessment for a suitable vein conduit for abdominal, peripheral (arms or legs) bypass graft, or cardiac bypass surgery
  • Pre- ultrasound guided sclerotherapy

Contraindications and limitations:

  • Extreme arm or leg girth (obesity, or extreme oedema)
  • Site trauma such as open wounds in the scanning area
  • Casts or dressings that cannot be removed
  • Patients that cannot be adequately positioned.

Patient preparation:

  • Eat breakfast, lunch or a snack within 3 hours prior to attending the ultrasound appointment.
  • Be well hydrated. Please ensure 500ml-1500ml of water has been consumed prior to the ultrasound, unless there is an underlying medical condition, that requires fluid restrictions. Please note: Coffee, tea and alcoholic drinks are dehydrating; these drinks are not included in the 500-1500mls of water. WHY? Being hydrated increases the blood volumes which allows for improved visualisation of the veins plus, low blood sugar levels and dehydration can be associated with a vasovagal response (light headiness, or fainting), whilst standing. Nutrition and hydration can help reduce the risk of this occurring.
  • On the day of the ultrasound, refrain from applying oils or moisturisers to the upper limb


What to wear:

Loose-fitting clothes, for example; a loose-fitting top or sleeveless top, shorts that allow access to the groin.

Ultrasound study technique:

Ultrasound is a non-invasive diagnostic study. The patient will lie on a bed, with the head of the bed slightly elevated for comfort. The leg/arm is supported on the bed or on a pillow. Ultrasound gel will be applied to the leg/arm. An ultrasound probe will be run over limb and the diameter of the veins measured, at 4-5cm intervals. Occasionally, a tourniquet will be applied to the upper limb, if the veins are small in calibre (diameter). Images will be obtained, and the results documented on a worksheet.

Ultrasound study time:

10-20 minutes per limb.


A worksheet can be available, if requested. A formal written report will be available within 24 to 48 hours, following the ultrasound examination, Monday to Friday. If the ultrasound findings demonstrate pathology, which may require urgent attention, the referring Doctor will be notified ASAP following the completion of the ultrasound.