Vascular ultrasound is a type if diagnostic imaging test that uses sound waves to look inside your blood vessels without “going inside” your body. Instead, it uses a handheld device called a transducer to send the waves painlessly through your skin to obtain images of your vessels and to evaluate the way your blood is flowing through your vessels.
Vascular ultrasound is primarily used to look for signs of narrowing or clots that might be interfering with the flow of blood to your extremities or organs. It can also be used to monitor certain treatments.
During a vascular ultrasound, you'll be asked to lie down on an exam table in a darkened room so the images made during the exam can be seen more clearly. A special gel will be placed on your skin over the area to be evaluated. The gel helps the transducer move smoothly over your skin and enables the sound waves to penetrate more easily. If your legs are being evaluated, you may also be asked to walk on a treadmill so the test can evaluate how blood flow occurs during exercise. During a cerebrovascular exam of the vessels that supply blood to your brain, you may be asked to sit up during the exam while the transducer is used to obtain images of the vessels in your neck.
Most tests take about an hour to perform.
Yes, ultrasound has been shown to be one of the safest forms of diagnostic imaging. No radiation is used and the test is completely noninvasive.
Yes, vascular ultrasound is completely noninvasive and uses no sedation, so you can drive yourself home after your test is complete.
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