Excel Diagnostics
Ultrasound

An ultrasound image is a useful way of evaluating the body’s circulatory system. Ultrasound images are captured in real-time, so they can help radiologists monitor the blood flow to organs and tissues throughout the body, as well as evaluate the placement and success of repair, such as after arterial bypass surgery. With ultrasound images, radiologists can locate and identify blockages (stenosis) and abnormalities like blood clots, plaque, or emboli, and help plan for their effective treatment.

Benefits

Ultrasound is widely available and easy to use.

Ultrasound images can demonstrate structure, movement and function in the body’s blood vessels in real-time.

Ultrasound uses no ionizing radiation.

Ultrasound scanning is noninvasive with no needles or injections, and usually painless.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Ultrasound?

Ultrasound (US) or sonography involves the sending of sound waves through the body. Those sound waves are reflected off the internal organs. The reflections are then interpreted by special instruments that subsequently create an image of anatomic parts. No ionizing radiation (x-ray) is involved in ultrasound imaging.

How should I prepare for the procedure??

You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound exam. No other preparation is required. If your abdominal vessels are being studied, you will need to fast before the procedure.

How does the procedure work??

You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound exam. No other preparation is required. If your abdominal vessels are being studied, you will need to fast before the procedure.

How does the procedure work??

Ultrasound imaging is based on the same principles involved in the sonar used by bats, ships at sea, and anglers with fish detectors. As a controlled sound bounces against objects, its echoing waves can be used to identify how far away the object is, how large it is, its shape and its internal consistency (fluid, solid or mixed). The ultrasound transducer functions as both a loudspeaker (to create the sounds) and a microphone (to record them). When the transducer is pressed against the skin, it directs a stream of inaudible, high-frequency sound waves into the body. As the sound waves echo from the body’s fluids and tissues, the sensitive microphone in the transducer records tiny changes in the sound’s pitch and direction. These signature waves are instantly measured and displayed by a computer, which in turn creates a real-time picture on the monitor. The live images of the examination can be recorded on videotape. In addition, still frames of the moving picture are usually “frozen” to capture a series of images. Blood flow changes the pitch of the sound beam; this Doppler effect can be heard or detected on the image as color or displayed graphically.

How is the procedure performed??

The patient is positioned on an examination table that can tilt and move. A clear gel is applied to the area that will be examined. The gel helps the transducer make a secure contact and eliminates air pockets between the transducer and the skin, since the sound waves cannot penetrate air. The sonographer, vascular technologist, or radiologist then presses the transducer firmly against the skin and sweeps along the area of interest, reviewing the images on the monitor and capturing “snapshots” as required. For venous ultrasound examinations, the transducer is pressed gently on the leg. When the examination is complete, the patient may be asked to dress and wait while the ultrasound images are reviewed, either on film or on a monitor. Often, though, the sonographer or radiologist is able to review the ultrasound images in real time as they are acquired, and the patient can be released immediately.

What will I experience during the procedure?

Most ultrasound studies are fast and easy. You will lie on your back on an examining table that may be tilted or moved to provide access to the area that will be imaged. The sonographer or radiologist will spread some gel on your skin and then press the transducer firmly against your body, moving it until the desired images are captured. Most exams take less than 30 minutes; however, more complicated examinations may take somewhat longer.

What are the risks?

For standard diagnostic ultrasound there are no known harmful effects on humans.

What are the limitations of Ultrasound Imaging?

Vessels deep in the body are harder to see than superficial vessels. Specialized equipment may be necessary. Calcifications that occur as a result of atherosclerosis may obstruct the ultrasound beam. Sometimes the ultrasound cannot tell the difference between a blood vessel that is closed or very nearly closed because the weak volume of blood flow produces a weak signal.