Carotid Duplex Ultrasound

Your doctor has requested an ultrasound of your carotid arteries. Ultrasound is a procedure that uses sound waves to “see” inside your body. This procedure is performed to evaluate symptoms including dizziness, loss of memory, stroke, and loss of control of your muscles and other findings that might result from narrowing or blockage of the vessels (carotid arteries) on either side of your neck.

Before Your Exam

There is no preparation for this procedure. You may want to wear loose clothing for this procedure, especially at the neck. It is best not to wear turtlenecks or silk shirts (because of the gel that will be used). We want to make your waiting time as pleasant as possible. Consider bringing your favorite magazine, book or music player to help you pass the time. Please leave your jewelry and valuables at home.

During Your Exam

The registered vascular technologist will explain your exam and answer any questions you may have. Your procedure may be performed with you lying on the examination table or sitting in a chair. The technologist will apply warm gel to your neck area. A transducer, a small, microphone-like device, will be placed over each side of your neck. You will not feel any pain; however you will feel mild pressure from the transducer. Sound waves will bounce off the organs and tissue in your body and the blood moving in your arteries. This creates “echoes.” The echoes are reflected back to the transducer. A television monitor shows images as the transducer converts the echoes to electronic signals. These images may be viewed immediately, or photographed for further study. Additionally, you may hear unusual sounds as the technologist views and records the blood flowing through your neck vessels (carotid arteries). Your exam will take approximately 15 to 30 minutes.

After Your Exam

There are no post-exam instructions. Your study will be reviewed by a board certified radiologist and the results will be sent to your physician. Your physician will discuss these results with you and explain what they mean in relation to your health.