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Vascular Ultrasound

Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves exposing part of the body to high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultrasound exams do not use ionizing radiation (as used in x-rays). Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body’s internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels. Ultrasound imaging is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Vascular ultrasound provides pictures of the body’s veins and arteries. A Doppler ultrasound study may be part of a vascular ultrasound examination.


Doppler ultrasound is a special ultrasound technique that evaluates blood velocity as it flows through a blood vessel, including the body’s major arteries and veins in the abdomen, arms, legs and neck. What are some common uses of the procedure? Sonography is a useful way of evaluating the body’s circulatory system. Vascular ultrasound is performed to:

  • help monitor the blood flow to organs and tissues throughout the body.

  • locate and identify blockages (stenosis) and abnormalities like plaque or emboli and help plan for their effective treatment.

  • detect blood clots (deep venous thrombosis (DVT) in the legs or arms.

  • determine whether a patient is a good candidate for a procedure such as angioplasty.

  • evaluate the success of procedures that graft or bypass blood vessels.

  • determine if there is an enlarged artery (aneurysm).

  • determine the source and severity of varicose veins.


Doppler ultrasound images can help the physician to see and evaluate:

  • blockages to blood flow (such as clots).

  • narrowing of vessels (which may be caused by plaque).

  • tumors and congenital malformation.

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