What is Ultrasound?
Ultrasound, sometimes called sonography, is a procedure that uses high-frequency waves to examine structures and tissues inside the body.
What is Doppler?
Doppler is a special form of ultrasound. Doppler ultrasound is used to evaluate blood flow.
Why Doppler Ultrasound?
A Doppler ultrasound exam gives a physician a great deal of information about the blood vessels and about the way blood is passing through them. Doppler ultrasound is particularly well suited to evaluating problems within the veins and arteries. One of the most common uses of Doppler ultrasound is of the neck to evaluate the carotid arteries. These vessels supply large amounts of blood to the brain and may become blocked. Blockage can lead to a stroke. In the abdomen Doppler can help evaluate blood flow to the liver and other abdominal organs. Doppler is also used to evaluate blood flow in the legs and may be helpful in identifying blockages in the arteries and clots of the veins (DVT).
How is Ultrasound Performed?
The patient will lie on a padded table and a gel will be applied to the skin. An instrument called a transducer will be moved slowly over the skin and an image will appear on a monitor.
Is Ultrasound Safe?
There are no known harmful effects associated with the medical use of ultrasound.
How long will the exam take?
The average ultrasound exam usually takes 30 minutes although some exams take longer. The time of the exam is dependent upon several factors including the portion of the body to be examined and the complexity of the anatomy.
Results of the Exam
The patient's exam will be interpreted by a radiologist specializing in ultrasound interpretation and then forwarded to the referring physician. The referring physician should discuss results with the patient.