Step-by-Step Guide to Carotid Ultrasound: What to Expect During the Procedure

Did your doctor recommend a carotid ultrasound, but you don’t know about it? A carotid ultrasound is a test that is used to diagnose blocked carotid arteries located on both sides of your neck with the help of sound waves that produce images on the computer for a doctor to examine. It is a simple and painless test. Don’t worry, this article helps you understand the carotid ultrasound procedure step-by-step and what you should expect from its result. Get a consultation with the best cardiologists in Brooklyn.


Before the procedure, you don’t need to prepare much. However, if you smoke or drink caffeine you may need to avoid that for at least 2 hours before the test. Both smoking and caffeine can shrink your blood vessels which affects the accuracy of the test.

Other than that, you should wear comfortable clothes with an open-neck shirt and remove any jewelry before the test.

This procedure will take place in an ultrasound lab and last around 15 to 30 minutes. It may follow these steps:

  • You need to lie down on the examination table with your head slightly bent backward.
  • The technician will apply gel on both sides of your neck.
  • Then, the technician starts moving the ultrasound wand along the area of the table to locate carotid arteries. You may feel a slight pressure on that area with a whooshing noise which is the sound of blood flowing in your vessels.
  • The recorded images are sent to the computer where a doctor can examine them.

It is a risk-free procedure to find any changes or abnormalities in your body.


In most cases, doctors can rule out the cause of carotid artery disease with this carotid ultrasound. In case the doctor suspects, then they may order more tests to get more information.

If you are diagnosed with carotid artery disease, then they create your treatment plan based on how severe it is. You may even need surgery to remove the plaque in your arteries or may need carotid angioplasty and stenting.

In carotid angioplasty and stenting, your doctor threads a catheter (a flexible tube) through your carotid artery to the blockage location. The catheter inflates a small balloon to remove the plaque and inserts a stent (a small metal mesh tube) to keep your arteries open.

Your doctor may also recommend some blood-thinning medications to control the levels of lipids in your blood:

  • Thrombolytics which dissolve blood clots.
  • Aspirin or clopidogrel to prevent blood clots.
  • Statins to lower your cholesterol levels.
  • Antihypertensives to bring down your blood pressure.

Additionally, lifestyle changes are also recommended for treating and preventing carotid artery disease which includes:

  • Eat a healthy well-balanced diet by including fruits, vegetables, whole-grain cereals and breads, and a limited amount of saturated fat. You can also start a Mediterranean diet if your doctor approves, which is good for your heart.
  • Stay physically active by exercising regularly.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Avoid smoking and prevent secondhand smoke.


Carotid ultrasound is a risk-free procedure. You may feel pressure on your neck which may make you uncomfortable when the transducer pushes on your neck but that doesn’t cause pain and is not harmful anyway.

This is the step-by-step guide to carotid ultrasound which helps to diagnose carotid artery disease and several other conditions such as stroke. Your results decide whether you need more testing or treatment to manage your condition.

If you need more information about other cardiology tests that your doctor may order, 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.