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Vascular radiology

Vascular ultrasound

What is a vascular ultrasound?

Vascular Ultrasound or Doppler is a non-invasive imaging method that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of vessels within the body. The high-frequency sound waves are concentrated into a thin beam and directed into the body with a transducer, which is a small hand-held wand that the technologist uses to perform the examination. The sound waves reflect off internal structures. The returning echoes are received by the transducer and then processed by a computer to produce real-time images. Vascular Ultrasound is commonly used to evaluate veins and arteries in the arms, legs and neck. They are also used to evaluate these vessels leading to organs in the abdomen.


What should I expect?

You will be positioned on an exam table and a clear gel will be applied to your skin. The gel is used to eliminate air bubbles between the transducer and your body, since sound waves travel very poorly through air. The transducer is pressed against the skin and moved back and forth to visualize the area of interest. It is usually painless, but you may experience some discomfort from the pressure applied to the transducer. You may also require a second test that involves taking blood pressures at different locations on your arms and legs by applying blood pressure cuffs down the extremities of interest. Your exam may take 30 to 90 minutes depending on the type of exam that is ordered.

how should I prepare?


For most exams no preparation is needed. However, if the vessels in your abdomen are being evaluated, you may be instructed not to eat or drink after midnight or 8 hours prior to your exam. You may also be asked to drink several glasses of water 1 hour before your test and to avoid urinating, so that your bladder is full for part of the exam. You should wear loose comfortable clothing. You may be asked to change into a hospital gown.

how do i get the results

After your study is over, the images will be evaluated by one of our board-certified Radiologists with expertise in vascular ultrasound imaging. A final report will be sent to your doctor, who can then discuss the results with you in detail. Should you have any questions regarding your Vascular Ultrasound exam, we will be happy to discuss them with you.

Service Locations

Vascular ultrasound is available at Alamogordo Imaging Center, El Camino Imaging Center, Northwest Imaging Center, X-Ray Associates at Farmington and X-Ray Associates at Santa Fe.