Q: What is an ultrasound exam?
A: An ultrasound exam uses sound waves to look at blood vessels. These tests check for narrowing, blockage, clots, or weakness. Your doctor may request that the vessels in your neck, arms, or legs be examined.
Q: How is an ultrasound exam performed?
A: A technologist will apply a water-based gel to the skin in the area being examined. The gel helps to transmit the ultrasound waves. The technologist will guide a tool that transmits and receives sound waves over the skin surface to examine the blood vessel.
Q: How is an arterial evaluation performed?
A: If an arterial examination of the arms or legs is ordered, the technologist may use blood pressure cuffs to evaluate how well blood is flowing.
Q: Are there any preparations needed for these tests (i.e.: do I need to fast)?
A: For the most part, there is no special preparation. The exception to the rule is when a renal (kidney) exam is requested. For that particular exam, we ask that you not eat or drink eight hours prior to the exam. Your doctor will provide you with instructions on preparing for exams.
Q: How long does an exam take?
A: Exam times can vary, depending on the type of test. Typically, exams take between 30-60 minutes.
Q: Will it hurt?
A: No. Most exams are non-invasive. That is, your skin will not be pierced with any instruments.