Carotid Duplex Ultrasound

Ultrasound is a study that uses sound waves to "see" inside your body. A carotid duplex ultrasound is performed to evaluate symptoms including dizziness, loss of memory, stroke, loss of  musclecontrol and other symptoms that might result from narrowing or blockage of the vessels (carotid arteries) on either side of your neck. A carotid ultrasound can also be used to screen for stroke risk. 

At the S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center, we have a specialized team of physicians, nurses, and technologists who are experts in ultrasound radiology.

Before Your Exam

A carotid duplex ultrasound image showing blood flow through the right internal carotid artery in the neck.

  • There is no preparation for this procedure.
  • If your doctor gave you an order, please bring it with you.
  • You may want to wear loose clothing for this procedure, especially at the neck. It is best not to wear turtlenecks or silk shirts (because of the gel that will be used).
  • We want to make your waiting time as pleasant as possible. Please consider bringing your favorite magazine, book or music player to help you pass the time.
  • Please leave your jewelry and valuables at home.
  • Directions and parking information.

During Your Exam

  • The vascular technologist will explain your exam and answer any questions you may have.
  • Your procedure may be performed with you lying on the examination table or sitting in a chair.
  • The technologist will apply warm gel to your neck area.
  • A transducer, a small, microphone-like device, will be placed over each side of your neck.
  • You will not feel any pain; however you will feel mild pressure from the transducer.
  • Sound waves will bounce off the organs and tissue in your body and the blood moving in your arteries. This creates "echoes." The echoes are reflected back to the transducer. A television monitor shows images as the transducer converts the echoes to electronic signals. These images may be viewed immediately, or photographed for further study.
  • You may hear unusual sounds as the technologist views and records the blood flowing through your neck vessels (carotid arteries).
  • Your exam will take approximately 15 to 30 minutes.

After Your Exam

  • Your study will be reviewed by a vascular surgeon and the results sent to your physician. Your physician will discuss these results with you and explain what they mean in relation to your health.
  • If you have any problems related to your procedure, please call 310-423-8000.
For more information or to schedule an appointment