If your doctor has suggested a vascular ultrasound, you may be wondering about the details of this procedure and how it can benefit you. To help you prepare, here is a look at the advantages of a vascular ultrasound. 

1. Noninvasive

A vascular ultrasound allows your medical team to look at the flow of blood through your body without cutting you open. All of the equipment stays on the outside of your body. You don't need painkillers or anesthesia. You just have to relax while the ultrasound technician runs a plastic wand over the area being examined. 

2. No Dyes or Radiation

Vascular ultrasounds use sound waves to produce images. Basically, the waves bounce off different parts of your body. Then, they are collected and turned into images. In contrast, X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs create pictures by using radiation and contrast dye.  Although the risk of exposure to radiation or dyes can be necessary in some cases, it's always best to avoid that when you can, and an ultrasound makes that possible. 

3. Ability to Assess and Diagnose Multiple Issues

A vascular ultrasound can help your doctor assess the severity of several conditions. This test can also help with diagnosis of a variety of issues and to track recovery after certain procedures. In particular, a vascular ultrasound can do the following:

  • Figure out if arteries are narrowing

  • Assess the severity of narrowing arteries

  • Help the doctor develop a surgical plan to deal with narrowing arteries

  • Look for blood clots related to deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

  • Diagnose vascular issues such as stroke, peripheral artery disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm, carotid artery disease, pulmonary embolism, and other vascular diseases both in and around the heart and in other parts of your body

  • Track the recovery process after you get a stent or graft

  • See how the blood is flowing after surgery on your heart or any other part of your vascular system

So that you know what to expect, ask your medical team what they are trying to assess with the ultrasound.

4. Portability 

Another advantage of vascular ultrasounds is that the equipment is fairly portable. In most cases, you will simply go to an ultrasound room at a hospital or an imaging clinic, and you will get the tests you need. But if you're in a position where you can't move, ultrasound equipment is relatively portable. It consists of a large box, a screen, and the ultrasound wand. In contrast, most other imaging equipment, like MRI and CT scanning machines, are large and too bulky to move around easily.