Types of Ultrasound Used to Diagnose Your Condition

Types of Ultrasound Used to Diagnose Your Condition

Our specialty team at Premier Vascular, led by vascular surgeon, Dr. Nirav Patel, explains the types of vascular ultrasound available and their role in diagnosing and treating conditions that affect your vein and artery health.

Why would I need a vascular ultrasound?

The first step in treating vascular diseases, those that compromise the health of your veins and arteries, is to locate and assess the extent and type of damage.

Traditional ultrasounds, such as those used during pregnancy, bounce soundwaves off a structure to provide an image of the area under study, but they cannot show blood flow.

Similar to Doppler radar, which can track the velocity and direction of certain weather patterns, a Doppler ultrasound bounces soundwaves off circulating red blood cells.

Thus, Doppler ultrasounds provide detailed images of how well blood is flowing through your veins and arteries. An enhanced version of the standard Doppler adds color to help highlight the direction of blood flow through the vessels.

This is very valuable information, since an area of decreased flow may indicate a narrowed artery, blockage, or other damage that requires further treatment.

Dr. Patel may recommend Doppler ultrasound to check for:

A vascular ultrasound study can also detect inflammatory changes within blood vessels that may be due to autoimmune disorders, certain medications, or infections such as COVID-19.

What types of vascular ultrasounds are available?

The type of study your provider prescribes is based on the area under scrutiny. You may, for instance, require a carotid artery duplex scan. This is used to check for narrowing of the carotid arteries in your neck, which provide blood flow to the brain.

For symptoms affecting your legs or arms, such as painful muscle cramping or skin changes, Dr. Patel may recommend a vascular ultrasound to evaluate blood flow through the peripheral arteries and veins.

A vascular study may also be very helpful in:

Like traditional ultrasound studies, vascular ultrasounds are painless and don’t require injections, prolonged hospital visits, or healing/recovery following the procedure. 

What can I expect during a vascular ultrasound?

Vascular ultrasounds are performed in the office at Premier Vascular. Depending on the area being examined, they typically take 30-60 minutes to complete. During the study, you essentially relax on an exam table as an ultrasound technician completes the test.

First the tech applies a water-based gel to the area. The gel is cold but odorless and wipes away easily after the study. 

Your technician then places a small handheld device (transducer) against your skin, applying firm but not overwhelming pressure, and moves it in several different directions to obtain the images Dr. Patel has requested. The images are visible on a nearby computer monitor and are recorded for later review.

Once the study is complete, you’re free to return to your normal routine. Dr. Patel carefully evaluates the results of the ultrasound before contacting you regarding the findings and his recommendations for further treatment.

For outstanding care that may include a vascular ultrasound, schedule an evaluation with Dr. Patel here at Premier Vascular in Yonkers or Jackson Heights, New York.

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