What is an ultrasound?

Ultrasound (also known as sonography, ultrasonography or ultrasound scanning) is a diagnostic procedure in which high-frequency sound waves are transmitted through body tissues. The sound waves cannot be heard by the human ear. The sound waves, or echoes, that bounce back from the internal structures of the body are recorded and transformed into video or photographic images that can be viewed on a monitor.

The idea for ultrasound in humans came from sonar technology, which uses sound waves to detect underwater objects. Similarly, ultrasound imaging can reveal certain structures under our skin – specifically, soft tissue structures (such as the size, shape, and appearance of organs; muscles and tendons; and a developing fetus). An ultrasound can also detect blockages in the blood vessels (arteries and veins).

Ultrasound may be used with other diagnostic procedures or by itself.

What is a vascular ultrasound of the liver?

A vascular ultrasound of the liver is similar to traditional ultrasound except that the diagnostic test is used specifically to examine blood circulation around the liver. A vascular ultrasound (also called a duplex ultrasound), is actually a combination of a traditional ultrasound and a Doppler ultrasound. In a Doppler ultrasound, sound waves bounce off moving blood cells. A vascular ultrasound provides images of blood vessel walls and surrounding tissues as well as images of blood flow through the blood vessels.

Blood circulation in the liver

In which situations a vascular ultrasound of the liver is needed?

A vascular ultrasound of the liver is performed to help evaluate the liver and its network of blood vessels (within the liver and entering and exiting the liver). Using vascular ultrasound can help physicians diagnose and review the outcome of treatments for various liver-related problems and diseases. These include:

  • For detecting nodules, lesions, blood vessel malformations, and non-cancerous and cancerous tumors in the liver and their growth
  • For the planning and follow-up of liver transplantation
  • For following up on the outcome of liver tumor treatments
  • For following up on the outcome of TIPS (transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt, a procedure performed in patients with cirrhosis of the liver)
  • For determining blockages or reduced blood flow in the arteries and veins in and around the liver and spleen, such as clots

Who performs the vascular ultrasound of the liver?

Your ultrasound test will be performed by registered, specially trained technologist.

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