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Carotid Ultrasound

Carotid ultrasound is a safe, painless procedure that uses sound waves to examine the blood flow through the carotid arteries. Your two carotid arteries are located on each side of your neck. They deliver blood from your heart to your brain. Carotid ultrasound tests for blocked or narrowed carotid arteries, which can increase the risk of stroke. The results can help your doctor determine a treatment to lower your stroke risk.

What to Bring

  • Your physician order (your physician may have already sent this to us)
  • Personal ID
  • Insurance Card

How to Prepare

  • You do not have to do anything special to prepare for a carotid ultrasound.
  • Wear a comfortable shirt with no collar or an open collar.
  • Don't wear a necklace or dangling earrings.

What to Expect

  • The room is usually dark so the images can be seen clearly on the computer screen.
  • You'll likely lie on your back during the ultrasound. The ultrasound technologist (sonographer) may position your head to better access the side of your neck.
  • The sonographer will apply a warm gel to your skin above the site of each carotid artery. The gel helps transmit the ultrasound waves back and forth. The sonographer then gently presses the transducer against the side of your neck.
  • You shouldn't feel any discomfort during the procedure. If you do, tell the sonographer.
  • Please allow 45 minutes from registration to completion of test.

Getting the Results

A radiologist (a doctor who is specially trained in reading and interpreting diagnostic and ultrasound images) will interpret the ultrasound results and send the information to your provider.