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Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Varicose Veins - Exams and Tests

The most important tools in diagnosing varicose veins are the physical examination and medical history. Varicose veins are typically diagnosed based on their appearance, and no other special tests are needed to confirm the diagnosis.

  • The medical history will include questions about any vein problems, serious leg injuries, or leg ulcers you have had in the past, as well as any other risk factors you might have, including whether your family has a history of varicose veins. Talk to your doctor about any symptoms you are having (such as swelling, fatigue, or cramps in your legs) and what you have been doing to treat your symptoms, if anything.
  • During the physical exam, the doctor will examine your legs and feet (or any other affected areas) for varicose veins. You will likely stand during this test. Varicose veins are usually easy to see. The doctor will also check your legs for tender areas, swelling, skin color changes, ulcers, and other signs of skin breakdown. To study the blood flow in your legs, the doctor may ask you to move your legs around in different positions.

If a problem with the deep veins or complications are suspected based on your symptoms and exam, other tests may be done.

Duplex Doppler ultrasound is the most commonly used noninvasive test that can help your doctor study blood flow in your leg veins.

An ultrasound might be done if you are considering having a procedure to treat varicose veins.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 17, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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