Ultrasonography and Doppler
What is Ultrasonography?
This is a diagnostic imaging technique that uses the principle of Ultrasound to view the internal human body parts like the tendons, muscles, joints, blood vessels and internal organs. Ultrasounds are sound waves that have very high frequencies, above 20,000 Hz. The images created by ultrasounds are called sonograms and are produced by transmitting ultrasound into the tissues with the help of a probe.
Ultrasound works on the principle of sending high frequency sound waves or ultrasound at a target and then detects and measures the echo that is received.
What is Doppler Ultrasonography?
This is a non-invasive diagnostic imaging technique that uses the principles of ultrasound and Doppler effect to evaluate flowing objects, like blood in the human body and determine its relative velocity and help in detecting different medical issues of the body.
Need for Doppler Ultrasonography
Doppler Ultrasonography can provide assistance in detecting, diagnosing and monitoring different medical conditions, some of them are:
- Locate blood clots and blocked or narrowed blood vessels in any part of the body.
- Check for intermittent claudication or a tight, squeezing pain in calf, foot, thigh or buttock usually caused by peripheral arterial diseases.
- Evaluate the blood flow in patients after a stroke or other medical conditions.
- Monitor varicose veins or other veins that are not functioning properly leading to collection of the blood or other fluids in the legs.
- Track the veins that can be used for grafting of blood vessels, for their efficiency and for any blockages.
Monitor the flow of blood in a recently transplanted organ and after any surgery.
- Locate arterial plaque and determine the amount in order to take steps to remove them to reduce the risk of stroke.
- Diagnose aneurysms by looking for bulging arteries.
Doppler Ultrasound Procedure
The Doppler ultrasound is usually handled by a radiologist along with a Ultrasound technologist or sonographer and is performed in an ultrasound room.
The doctors recommend the following from the patient before the Doppler ultrasound is performed.
- Avoid any products that contain nicotine at least 2-3 hours before the procedure since nicotine will narrow the blood vessels.
- Remove all jewellery before the procedure.
- Most of the clothes will have to be removed depending on the area of scan.
The patient might have to take different positions depending on the body part, which is scanned as listed below:
- Lie on your back for abdominal scans
- Lie on your back with the neck extended for chest scans
- Turn your head to one side for head and neck scans
- Slightly raise your head for an arm or leg scan and turn the exposed arm or leg outward. Some leg scans require the patients to lie on their stomach.
- Expectant mothers will have to lie on either on their back or their left side with the belly exposed.
During Doppler Scan
- The doctor or the technician will apply gel on the skin of the body part to be scanned to help the sound waves pass through.
- The transducer is then placed on the gel and then moved across the skin.
- Patients will have to lie still.
- The scan might take 30 to 60 minutes.
- The method of scanning will vary depending on the body part that is being scanned.
- The patient might hear the flow of blood through the blood vessels.
- The Doppler ultrasonography will not cause any discomfort to the patient. The gel might be cold at first then it warms up.
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