Venous mapping, or vein mapping, is performed as an ultrasound using a handheld transducer device, and sometimes involves actual marking of veins on the legs. This procedure often eventually leads to surgery, and although it is not invasive on its own, it is usually one part of a serious medical process, specifically a bypass.
Venous mapping occurs when an individual who is getting ready for a surgical procedure has an ultrasound on their legs so that the doctor can determine which veins are necessary for the procedure. The ultrasound allows the technician to use sound waves, which are harmless, to create a pictorial map of the body’s veins. In this case, it is almost always specifically associated with the leg veins, although sometimes arm or chest veins are used. As the technician takes these images of the veins, a map of the veins is created.
Usually, people who require venous mapping are those who are about to receive bypass surgery. This is when a blood vessel is harvested from another area of the body (often the leg) in order to replace a damaged artery that is meant to supply the heart with blood.
Patients who are getting bypass surgery will require venous mapping before the surgery occurs. This is so the surgeon knows which veins are good candidates for harvesting and relocating. The procedure makes it easier for the surgeon to perform the surgery, as they will already know which veins to use.
Patients will need to talk over the decision to receive bypass surgery before ever going in for venous mapping. While venous mapping is not invasive, the bypass procedure does have risks and can sometimes be a more dangerous option for certain patients, so it is best to know for certain that this is the best decision for you before even considering the venous mapping procedure. If you have a severe blockage in your main artery, if you experience severe and frequent chest pain because of your blocked artery, and/or if you are not a good candidate for an angioplasty, a bypass may be a necessary option for you.
Venous mapping is a kind of preparation for a bypass, so you will usually receive this procedure before the bypass occurs. The bypass is a somewhat risky procedure, so it is important to talk to your doctor about all the aspects of your choice to receive bypass surgery before you do so.
The test itself is not long, and you will not have to do anything out of the ordinary beforehand. Make sure you eat a healthy meal and to get a good night’s sleep before going in for the test, just as a general rule. Also, wear clothes that will be easy to remove, in case it is necessary for you to do so.
Before the test, you should usually arrive somewhat early in order to fill out any necessary paperwork. Bring a list of your medications so the technician will be aware of them. Plan to be in the exam room anywhere from half an hour to 90 minutes.
During the test, the gel will be applied to your leg, arm, or wherever the vein will be harvested from. The gel will be applied to one place at a time as the technician moves the transducer over your skin to see the veins. An assistant may mark the areas where the veins are directly onto your skin, creating a map for the surgeon to follow.
Once the test is over, you will often find out the results very quickly. Your doctor will discuss the venous mapping with you, and if all has gone well, you will begin preparation for bypass surgery.
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