carotid Ultrasound

Imaging Center in Pasadena & Los Angeles, CA

What is Carotid Ultrasound?

A carotid ultrasound is a medical imaging procedure that uses sound waves (ultrasound) to examine the blood flow through the carotid arteries. It also evaluates the thickness of the carotid artery wall and checks for clots.

A carotid ultrasound tests for blocked or narrowed carotid arteries, which can increase the risk of stroke. The results of the test can help your health care provider determine a treatment to lower your stroke risk

A provider’s referral is required to schedule a Carotid Ultrasound.

Evaluate, Monitor & Follow Up

Why are Carotid Ultrasounds commonly performed?

Carotid ultrasounds are commonly performed for several reasons, primarily related to assessing the health and function of the carotid arteries, which are major blood vessels in the neck that supply blood to the brain, neck, and face. The reasons include:

Carotid ultrasounds help in detecting blockages or narrowing (stenosis) in the carotid arteries, which can significantly increase the risk of stroke. By identifying these blockages early, appropriate measures can be taken to reduce stroke risk.

Symptoms such as sudden numbness or weakness, difficulty speaking, severe headaches, dizziness, or loss of vision can indicate carotid artery disease. An ultrasound can help in evaluating the cause of these symptoms.

For patients already diagnosed with carotid artery disease, carotid ultrasounds are used to monitor the progression of the disease and to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments.

Before undergoing certain surgeries, such as coronary artery bypass surgery, a carotid ultrasound may be performed as part of a pre-operative assessment to evaluate the risk of stroke during surgery.

People with risk factors for cardiovascular disease (such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or a family history of heart disease or stroke) may undergo carotid ultrasounds as part of a screening process to assess their risk of stroke.

After procedures like carotid artery stenting or carotid endarterectomy, carotid ultrasounds may be used to ensure the artery remains open and to monitor for any potential complications.

Overall, Carotid ultrasounds are non-invasive, do not use ionizing radiation, and provide valuable information about the health of the carotid arteries, making them a preferred method for assessing cardiovascular risk and guiding treatment decisions.

Exam Preparation

How to prepare for your Carotid Ultrasound?

Preparing for a carotid ultrasound is usually quite straightforward, and in most cases, there’s no extensive preparation required. However, we recommend following any specific instructions given to you by your healthcare provider.

Your healthcare provider or Sono Center Medical Group will provide specific instructions on how to prepare for the ultrasound. Make sure to follow these instructions carefully.

Before the procedure, remove any objects from your neck area.

Take your regular medications as prescribed, unless your healthcare provider instructs you otherwise.

A provider’s referral is required to schedule any imaging study. If you do not have a provider referral, Sono Center Medical Group can assist with scheduling a telehealth consultation for you (independent healthcare provider belonging to an external network). If you have any relevant medical history, previous imaging results, or physician referrals, please bring them with you to the appointment.

Remember that the specific instructions for preparation can vary, so it’s important to follow the guidelines provided by your healthcare provider and Sono Center Medical Group. If you’re uncertain about any aspect of the preparation, don’t hesitate to contact us or your healthcare provider for clarification. If you are experiencing severe pain or discomfort, please contact your healthcare provider immediately or go to the nearest emergency room.

Ultrasound Procedure

What to expect during your
Carotid Ultrasound?

Your procedure may be performed with you lying on the examination table or sitting in a chair.

The procedure includes the following:

There is no specific preparation needed for a carotid ultrasound. You can typically eat and drink normally before the procedure. You may be asked to change into a gown. This helps ensure easy access to your neck for the ultrasound procedure.

A clear, water-based gel will be applied to the skin over your neck area. This gel helps transmit the sound waves from the transducer and improve the quality of the ultrasound images.

The ultrasound technician (sonographer) will use a handheld device called a transducer. This transducer emits high-frequency sound waves and captures the echoes that bounce back from your neck area and surrounding tissues. You will not feel any pain; however you will feel mild pressure from the transducer.

As the technician moves the transducer, you might feel a slight pressure on your neck, but the procedure is generally painless. You may hear some sound, which is the ultrasound equipment processing the sound waves.

The technician might take screenshots or measurements of specific areas of interest within the neck area for later evaluation by a radiologist.

Once all the necessary images have been obtained, you may wipe off the gel from your skin. You can then go about your normal activities.

After the procedure, the images and findings of your Carotid Ultrasound will be reviewed by a radiologist, who will generate a report for your healthcare provider. We will share the report with you via a HIPAA compliant email, as well as fax the report to your healthcare provider. You must follow up with your healthcare provider for a clinical exam based on your concern and to review your results. It is important for you to understand that you may have problems, disease, or abnormalities, but this study may not find them. You may need additional imaging or tests.

Carotid Ultrasound Price


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