What’s a carotid ultrasound? What’s the procedure for? And how is it done? Know the answers to these & more as we list the 5 FAQs about a carotid ultrasound.
If you’ve ever heard the phrase “carotid ultrasound” you may have wondered what it was. If so, you’ve come to the right place.
A carotid ultrasound is an important procedure when it comes to examining blood flow through the body. Without this procedure, more strokes and other medical problems could occur.
So what, exactly, is a carotid ultrasound and how does it work? Keep reading to find out. Here are the answers to five frequently asked questions about this procedure.
1. What is a Carotid Ultrasound?
Carotid arteries reside in the neck. There are two of them – one on one side of the neck, and another on the other side.
These arteries transport blood from the heart to the brain. The risk of having a stroke can increase if issues are present in these arteries.
Carotid ultrasounds use sound waves to see what’s going on in the carotid arteries. These sound waves produce pictures, allowing doctors to understand the condition of the arteries.
2. What is a Carotid Ultrasound Used For?
A carotid ultrasound looks at how the carotid arteries are doing. During the procedure, a doctor checks to see if the arteries are blocked or narrowed. This blockage or narrowing is called stenosis.
If stenosis is discovered, a treatment plan can be created for the patient. This will help reduce the risk of having a stroke.
Carotid ultrasounds are also used for several others things. These include evaluating blood flow and locating tumors and clots.
3. How is it Performed?
Carotid ultrasounds are performed much like any other ultrasound. First, ultrasound gel is placed on the skin over the examination area. Then, the doctor uses a special probe.
The end of the probe is placed on the gel. From there it sends sound waves that produce the image the doctor is looking for. These images are real-time views of the artery.
A Doppler ultrasound may also be performed during the examination. This allows the doctor to see the blood flow throughout the rest of the body.
4. Are There Any Risks?
Doctors and patients alike can be at ease when participating in this procedure. No known risks are associated with carotid ultrasounds.
5. How Should a Patient Prepare for a Carotid Ultrasound?
Patients don’t need to do much before coming in for this procedure. Really, they just need to make sure the doctor has access to the carotid arteries.
Patients may prepare by removing jewelry and choosing a shirt or blouse that allows easy access to the neck.
Carotid Ultrasounds Save Lives
Without carotid ultrasounds, some people may never know they have serious health issues. Because this procedure exists, it helps to improve and extend the life of those who use it.
Carotid ultrasounds are simple and painless, so there’s no need to be afraid of them. For being such a simple procedure, carotid ultrasounds do a world of good.
Ultrasounds are used for many medical procedures. Click here to learn about venous ultrasounds.