Carotid Ultrasound

A carotid doppler (ultrasound) is an imaging test. It helps your doctor evaluate your carotid arteries. This test:

  • Is safe and painless.
  • Can be done in a hospital, test center, or doctor’s office.
  • Bounces harmless sound waves (ultrasound) off the carotid artery. A transducer (device that looks like a microphone) is used.
  • Helps determine the blockage (stenosis) in the carotid artery.

Before Your Carotid Ultrasound

Discuss any questions or concerns you have with your doctor.

  • Mention any over-the-counter or prescription medications, herbs, or supplements you’re taking.
  • Allow extra time for checking in.
  • Wear a two-piece outfit for the test. You may be asked to remove clothing and jewelry from the waist up. If so, you’ll be given a short hospital gown.

During Your Carotid Ultrasound

Most carotid dopplers (ultrasounds) take 20-30 minutes.

  • A transducer coated with cool gel is moved over your neck. This device creates the sound waves that make images of your artery.
  • The transducer may also be used to do a Doppler study. This test measures the direction and speed of blood flowing through the artery. During the test, you may hear a “whooshing” sound. This is the sound of blood flowing through the artery.
  • The images of your carotid artery are stored electronically. This is so your doctor can review them later.

After Your Carotid Ultrasound

  • Return to normal activity unless your healthcare provider tells you otherwise.
  • Be sure to keep follow-up appointments.



Your Test Results

Your doctor will discuss your test results with you during a future office visit. The test results help the doctor plan your treatment and any other tests that are needed.

Back to top