Carotid Artery Ultrasound

A carotid artery ultrasound is a non-invasive imaging procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of your carotid arteries, the arteries responsible for delivering oxygenated blood to your brain. A carotid ultrasound helps detect blockages of blood flow (caused by clots or plaque) and dissections (a split between the layers of the artery wall). This test can also be used to check the carotid artery after surgery or placement of a stent.

  1. Pre-procedure Instructions
    Wear a shirt with an open collar (no turtlenecks). You may be asked to remove necklaces or dangling earrings.
  2. During the Ultrasound
    You will lie on your back. An ultrasound transducer (a small, hand-held wand) with gel on the end will be rubbed on each side of your neck in order to obtain images of your blood vessels. You may be asked to turn your head slightly in either direction to expose your neck. You should not feel any major discomfort during a carotid artery ultrasound.  A carotid ultrasound generally takes from 20-30 minutes to complete.
  3. Post Procedure
    After your test is complete, you may wipe the gel off and return to normal activities immediately. Before you leave, you will be scheduled to receive your results from your physician.