With this exam, there is no use of ionizing radiation, no harmful effects, and can provide images of soft tissues that don’t show up on x-ray images. Vascular ultrasound exams are entirely safe and typically last from 30 to 90 minutes to complete. If you are curious to know more about what is a vascular ultrasound, continue reading to learn everything, from who needs the exam, to the procedure itself.
Why Do You Need a Vascular Ultrasound Exam?
A primary physician might recommend you for a vascular ultrasound because they need to evaluate your blood flow to specific organs in your body. More specifically, maybe they need to examine several areas of the blood flow, such as in the arteries within your neck that supplies blood to the brain, blood flow to a newly transplanted organ, and blood flow in the arteries to detect the presence, severity, and specific location of a narrowed area of the arteries.
Or perhaps they could have requested the exam to be performed because you have been experiencing symptoms common in people with vascular problems. Be on the lookout for:
- Chest pain
- Pale or bluish skin
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble swallowing
- Restricted mobility
- Fatigue for long periods
- Pain spread throughout the body
Thankfully, not much is needed to prepare for the vascular ultrasound exam. However, most doctors recommend wearing comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.
When getting examined, they will ask you to remove all of your clothing and jewelry in the area of interest and change into a gown for the procedure. Fasting is also required before the procedure if your abdominal vessels are going to be evaluated.
It’s important to note that ultrasound exams are sensitive to motion and that any movement will extend the examination process. So if you have a child coming to the exam with you, bring their favorite book, toys, or movies to distract them. This will ensure a smooth experience.
The vascular ultrasound exam is performed with ultrasound imaging (sonography) — high-frequency sound waves to view inside the body. The ultrasound images are captured in real-time, showing the movement of the body’s internal organs and blood flowing through the blood vessels. Throughout the exam, there will be noises while the radiologist is listening to blood flow or recording examinations.
The technologist will make you lie face-up on an exam table that can be tilted or moved; there is a possibility they will make you switch to being on your side to acquire better images. They will apply a clear, water-based gel to the area of interest to help the transducer — a device that converts energy from one form to another — make secure contact with that part of the body.
The majority of the procedure is the radiologist moving the transducer across the body in various locations, mainly concentrating on the area of interest. The transducer will produce images on the ultrasound screen, and it will be held in place until the blood flow information has been recorded. Although it is a painless process, you may experience tiny discomfort in the arms or legs when the technologist applies pressure.
After the Exam
Once the exam has been completed, the radiologist will begin by wiping off the gel from your skin, then will exit the room to give you time to dress and to review the ultrasound images.
After the doctor is finished analyzing and interpreting the ultrasound images, they will give you the results. The radiologist will discuss if any follow-up exams or treatments are needed to evaluate the potential issue further. After all the results have been given, you are free to go home and carry on with the rest of your day.
Our Promise to You
At Hillcroft Physicians, we perform various ultrasounds, including abdominal aortic aneurysm and vascular ultrasound exams to assess, diagnose, and determine medical disorders and treatments. The exceptional doctors at Hillcroft Physicians, paired with our high-tech equipment and precise radiology interpretations, deliver reliable and accurate ultrasounds exams.
We are dedicated to providing you with excellence in primary medicine. Our approach is a comprehensive evaluation of patients’ health and a group approach to those patients who need a diagnosis, education, interpretation, and evaluation of their plan of care. Our staff uses the most innovative treatments, procedures, and techniques to get you back on your feet when your vascular ultrasound is performed. Call and make an appointment with us today!