Common Questions about Carotid Ultrasound: Your Ultimate FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) Answered

Did your doctor ask you to have a carotid ultrasound and you don’t know what it is? Read this article and get answers to all frequently asked questions about carotid ultrasound you have in your mind. Get a consultation with the best cardiologists in Brooklyn.


5 FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Here are the most frequent questions you should know about carotid ultrasound:

  1. What is carotid ultrasound? What are the other names of carotid ultrasound?

Ans. It is a medical exam that is used to check the blockages of the carotid arteries by combining two types of ultrasounds. It’s usually simple and painless.

These arteries are found on both sides of the neck and if blocked, it can lead to stroke. An ultrasound is a type of image scan that uses sound waves to create an image of the inside of the body on the monitor. The two types of ultrasounds used in this exam are – conventional ultrasound and Doppler ultrasound.

Conventional or B-mode ultrasound uses sound waves that usually bounce off the blood vessels and create a structural picture of your blood vessels. Whereas, in Doppler ultrasound, sound waves track moving objects inside the blood vessels. This allows the doctor to see whether your blood is moving through the blood vessels or not.

Here’s a list of other names of carotid ultrasound are:

  • Carotid artery Doppler sonography
  • Carotid artery duplex scan
  • Vascular ultrasound
  • Carotid duplex scan


  1. What are the reasons you may need a carotid ultrasound?

Ans. Your doctor only recommends this ultrasound if he/she suspects you may have carotid artery disease. This disease can lead to stroke and occurs when cholesterol starts to build up in the carotid arteries creating blood clots. If these clots shatter, they travel directly to the brain and cause a stroke.

Usually, the first symptom of carotid artery disease is mostly stroke or ministroke. Other early warning signs of stroke include:

  • Weakness, numbness, or tingling in one arm or leg or one side of the body.
  • Not able to move your arm or leg.
  • Lose the ability to speak clearly.
  • Peripheral vision loss.

You should get immediate medical help if you experience any of these signs without any reason, even if they go away. It may mean that you may get a stroke or you’re about to (in the near future). When you get medical help, your doctor may ask questions about your symptoms and medical history to find the underlying cause. They also measure your blood pressure or listen to the blood flow in your neck.


  1. How to get ready for a carotid ultrasound?

Ans. You don’t need much to prepare for this test. However, you may need to avoid smoking or drinking caffeine for at least 2 hours before the test because these substances can shrink the blood vessels and affect the accuracy of the test.

Other steps you should follow before this test are:

  • Wear comfortable clothes that don’t cover your neck.
  • Avoid turtlenecks or silk clothes because they get easily stained by ultrasound gel.
  • Remove any jewelry.


  1. How is carotid ultrasound performed?

Ans. This test is performed in the ultrasound lab and takes around 15 to 30 minutes. During its procedure, these steps may follow:

  • You’ll be lying on the examination table with your head bent slightly backward.
  • A technician will apply gel to your neck.
  • The technician will move a small ultrasound wand to the area where your carotid arteries are located. You may feel slight pressure with a whooshing noise. This is the sound of blood moving the vessels.
  • The recorded images will be displayed on the doctor’s computer.


This method is a risk-free way to view any changes or abnormalities in your body.


  1. What happens after your test results are positive for carotid ultrasound?

Ans. If the test result is positive, your doctor may recommend additional tests to get more information.

If you are diagnosed with carotid artery disease, your doctor recommends treatment based on how severe your condition is. You may need surgery to remove the plaque from your arteries or may need carotid angioplasty and stenting.


During this process, your doctor threads a catheter (a flexible tube) through your carotid artery to the blockage location. Then, the catheter inflates a small balloon to destroy the plaque. Then, a stent (a small metal mesh tube) is inserted in your arteries to keep them open.


Your doctor may prescribe blood thinning medication or medication that controls lipid levels in your blood. They also guide you to make certain lifestyle changes to prevent or treat carotid artery disease such as quitting smoking, limiting alcohol, eating a well-balanced diet, or staying physically active.


These FAQs about carotid ultrasound will help you to clear your view about this ultrasound exam. How, why, when, it needs to perform, and tells exactly what is wrong in your carotid arteries.


If you need more information or help with any heart issues, visit our cardiology clinic in Brooklyn to get proper medical attention. For any heart problems, call us on +1(347) 384-5690. The Cardiologists at Doral Health & Wellness consistently have outstanding patient satisfaction ratings. The professionals at Heart Specialist Brooklyn are able to greatly improve their patient’s health and quality of life because of their vast training and experience. New Yorkers can get the greatest medical, surgical, and cardiovascular care at Doral Health & Wellness Brooklyn. Visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11212.