Ultrasound is safe and painless, and produces pictures of the inside of the body using sound waves. Ultrasound imaging, involves the use of a small transducer (probe) and ultrasound gel placed directly on the skin. High-frequency sound waves are transmitted from the probe through the gel into the body. The transducer collects the sounds that bounce back and a computer then uses those sound waves to create an image. Ultrasound examinations do not use ionizing radiation (as used in x-rays), thus there is no radiation exposure to the patient. Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body’s internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels. Doppler ultrasound is a special ultrasound technique that allows the physician to see and evaluate blood flow through arteries and veins.
Lower Extremity Arterial Ultrasound
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is a serious health risk factor leading to stroke, heart attack and sudden death. Unfortunately, most people are not aware they are at risk until it’s too late. If you have symptoms of peripheral arterial disease (PAD), you may be a candidate for an arterial ultrasound The test is done while you are lying on your back. Ultrasound gel is placed on your leg that allows the ultrasound signals to travel to the arteries. The technologist will use a transducer over the gel to visualize the arteries. The ultrasound waves will bounce off of the blood vessels and travel back to the transducer, which produces the image on the ultrasound machine. The technologist can then visualize any area of narrowing in the artery and take measurements of the blood flow This test is also a good way to monitor known lower extremity arterial narrowing and to follow up on vascular surgery to the legs such as bypass surgery, angioplasty, and stents
Venous Insufficiency Duplex
The most common cause of venous problems is venous reflux. Venous reflux (also known as venous insufficiency) occurs when venous valves don’t function adequately, leading to reversal of blood flow through the valves during standing or sitting. Venous duplex scan is a painless exam that uses high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to capture images of internal views of veins that return blood to the heart. Gel is applied to the legs and a transducer is used to capture the images. This examination is usually painless, although you may feel some discomfort if your leg is tender. This procedure takes approximately 1 hour to perform, and no special preparation is required.
Some indications of venous insufficiency include warmth, pain and swelling of one or both legs, or ulcers of legs.
A cerebrovascular exam, (also known as a Carotid Duplex) uses ultrasound and doppler to examine blood flow in the neck and arteries that supply the brain. The carotid arteries are located in the neck. They supply blood directly to the brain. During a cerebrovascular exam, the technologist will pass a transducer over both sides of the neck and look for plaque (atherosclerosis) which may cause a narrowing or blockage of the arteries.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in this country. More than half of all strokes in older Americans are due to carotid artery disease.
Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS)
Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) is a catheter-based imaging technology that allows physicians to get a picture of the diseased vessels from the inside, by emitting high-frequency sound waves that bounce off the vessel walls back to the system, creating a visual representation. IVUS provides detailed and accurate measurements of lumen and vessel size, plaque area and volume, and enhances diagnostic capabilities for more complete treatment.