Bilateral Carotid Artery Ultrasound

A bilateral carotid artery ultrasound is a diagnostic exam that uses high-frequency sound waves to measure the amount of blood flowing through the carotid arteries.

The carotid arteries are two arterial structures that are located on either side of the neck. These critical blood vessels carry blood from the heart to the brain.

Ultrasounds are non-invasive procedures that can be used to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions, such as blood clots, blockages, abnormalities in arterial blood flow, or damage to the arteries. They may also be used to evaluate the effectiveness of a stent - a device that improves blood flow through the carotid arteries. "Bilateral" means that this procedure scans both sides of the body - whereas uni-lateral ultrasounds scan only one.

Depending on your condition, your doctor may recommend a standard or Doppler ultrasound. Doppler ultrasounds use changes in the frequencies of sound waves to measure the speed and direction of blood flow through blood vessels. Because ultrasounds can show images in real-time, Doppler ultrasounds have taken the place of X-ray angiography as the main method of measuring blood flow through arteries. Regular ultrasounds can show blood vessels and organs in the body, but cannot measure blood flow through arterial channels.

Carotid artery ultrasounds are primarily used to check for abnormalities in blood flow, and any blockages that may be occurring in the carotid arteries. As fat and other substances build up in the arteries, they can become blocked and narrowed. This can increase your risk of a stroke. Your doctor may recommend a bilateral carotid artery ultrasound if you have risk factors such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Family history of stroke or heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Coronary artery disease (plaque build-up in the arteries)
  • Transient ischemic attack (a brief stroke-like episode that can serve as a warning sign for a stroke)

Additionally, you may be asked to undergo a carotid ultrasound if your doctor detects abnormal sounds in your carotid artery, or if you have had a stent placed in the carotid artery to improve blood flow.

A carotid ultrasound is a non-invasive procedure done with painless sound waves. The test will usually be done in the radiology department of a hospital, doctor's office, or a peripheral vascular laboratory.

You'll need to remove any clothing, jewelry, or any other objects in the area being scanned and lie down on the examination table. Your doctor will use a hand-held device known as a transducer, which directs high-frequency sound waves into the arteries or veins being studied. After the area is gelled (gel helps conduct the ultrasound waves), the transducer is placed against the side of your neck for imaging.

As the sound waves echo off your blood vessels, the transducer sends data to a computer that interprets the waves and creates images.

This procedure usually takes about 30 minutes.

Ultrasounds provide real-time imaging of blood flow and organs in the body. Because they are not as detailed as an X-ray or CT scan, they are rarely used to screen for cancer. Ultrasounds can show cancers and abnormal growths in the body but are unable to determine whether or not tumors are cancerous. If your doctor suspects you may have cancerous growth in that area of the body, you may be asked to undergo further testing.

Ultrasounds are totally safe and extremely accurate. Your doctor can provide medical advice as to whether or not ultrasound is the best type of imaging for you.

The primary difference between a carotid ultrasound scan and a CT scan is the use of radiation to create medical imaging. Both carotid ultrasounds and CT scans are non-invasive imaging techniques that allow doctors to look inside the body without cutting it open. Carotid ultrasounds record sound waves pinging off organs and blood vessels in the body, while CT scans use ionizing radiation to produce internal images of the body. This means that you will be exposed to a very small amount of radiation during a CT scan. While this amount of radiation is generally safe for most adults, pregnant women and young children are rarely given CT scan tests because of the dangers of exposure.

As for the actual procedure, a CT scan takes less time than ultrasound but is usually more expensive. CT scans can cost anywhere from $1000-$3000 where an ultrasound costs between $100-$1000. A CT scan takes about 5 minutes to complete, with ultrasound scans taking about 10-15 minutes. Carotid ultrasounds may take closer to 30 minutes, depending on the reason for your scan.

CT scans also provide more detailed imaging than ultrasounds. CT scans can show bone, soft tissue, and blood vessels in the same image. Ultrasound scans can show soft tissue and masses in the body, but further testing (like a Doppler ultrasound) may be needed for more details. Ultrasounds can detect growths, tumors, and cysts, but cannot determine whether or not these masses are cancerous. Because of this, a doctor may request a biopsy of an area if they suspect cancer cells may be present.

It depends on the condition and clinic. Most Doppler ultrasound tests take about 10-15 minutes to complete. Carotid ultrasound may take 20-30 minutes, depending on your needs. Ultrasound scans display images in real-time, and test results may be available within an hour of the scan. During your scan, the sonographer or technologist can answer questions you may have about the procedure, but the ultrasound results must be reviewed by a radiologist before a diagnosis is made.

All this means that while you may get a pretty good sense of what you're looking at during your scan, you may have to wait for several hours or days before your doctor can formally report the ultrasound results to you.

  1. Home
  2. Bilateral carotid artery ultrasound
  3. Bronx, NY