What is included in the physical exam for varicose veins and spider veins (telangiectasia) performed?

Updated: Sep 25, 2020
  • Author: Robert Weiss, MD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
  • Print

The physical examination of the venous system is fraught with difficulty. In most areas of the body, the deep venous system cannot be inspected, palpated, ausculted, or percussed. Examination of the superficial venous system must serve as an indirect guide to the deep system.

Veins and their connections become gradually better defined through inspection, palpation, percussion, and hand-held Doppler examination to form a venous map that later guides treatment. The courses of all the dilated veins that are identified may be marked along the leg with a pen and later transcribed into the medical record as a map of all known areas of superficial reflux.


Inspection is performed in an organized manner, usually progressing from distal to proximal and from front to back. The perineal region, pubic region, and abdominal wall must also be inspected.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!