In ultrasonography (ultrasound), high-frequency sound waves, inaudible to the human ear, are transmitted through body tissues. The echoes are recorded and transformed into video or photographic images.
Ultrasound images help in the diagnosis of a wide range of diseases and conditions. The idea for ultrasonography came from sonar technology, which makes use of sound waves to detect underwater objects.
Ultrasound is used to create images of soft tissue structures and can also be used to detect blockages in the blood vessels. Ultrasound may be used with other diagnostic procedures or by itself.
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Vascular ultrasound is a noninvasive ultrasound method (also called a duplex study) used to examine the blood circulation in the arms and legs. Noninvasive means the procedure does not require the use of needles, dyes, radiation or anesthesia.
During a vascular ultrasound, sound waves are transmitted through the tissues of the area being examined. These sound waves reflect off blood cells moving within the blood vessels, allowing the reading physician to calculate their speed. The sound waves are recorded and displayed on a computer screen.
Your physician has ordered this test to determine if the vessels that provide circulation to the face and brain are patent (open) and do not have blockages. If narrowing of the arteries in your neck is suspected, this test will help the doctor determine the degree of narrowing. This test is often ordered before surgical procedures, especially open-heart surgery.
The ultrasound takes about 30 to 45 minutes to complete. Please plan to arrive about 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment to complete the registration process.
The gel will be wiped off your skin. There are no special instructions to follow after the test. You may go home or to your other scheduled appointments after the vascular ultrasound.
There are no harmful side effects of this test. In addition, ultrasound does not use radiation, as X-ray tests do.
This information is about testing and procedures and may include instructions specific to Cleveland Clinic.
Please consult your physician for information pertaining to your testing.
After a vascular medicine physician reviews the test results, a final report will be generated. Your physician will provide the test results to you.
Learn more about Vascular Lab Services and find a location near you.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/29/2019.
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