Carotid Sonogram (Sonogram or Duplex Scan)

About this Test

The carotid arteries are the arteries in your neck that supply blood to the brain. Pictures of these arteries are taken with sound waves, not x-rays.

Why this Test is Done

You may have a complaint of blurred vision, numbness or tingling in the face or in your arms or legs; these symptoms could be caused by narrowing in the carotid arteries. The sonogram will identify plaque inside the artery that may decrease the blood flow to the brain.

Before the Test

You may eat, drink, and take your medications as you usually do. It is best not to wear clothes that fit tightly around your neck.

During the Test

You will be asked to lie on your back. You will need to lie still. You cannot chew gum, hard candy, etc. Warm gel is applied to the neck which helps to optimize the images. Pictures will be seen on a computer screen during the exam. Noises will be heard throughout a portion of the test. The technologist will warn you of these before they happen. The exam takes 20 to 40 minutes to complete.

After the Test

You may be asked to wait while the images are reviewed. There are no restrictions. You may resume your regular activity.

Test Results

The pictures are reviewed by the radiologist and the results are sent to your doctor. The results cannot be given to you by the sonographer administering the test.

If you have any questions, call your physician or call the UPMC Hamot Ultrasound Department at 814-877-2258.

If you cannot keep your appointment, please call our scheduling department at 814-877-6123 to reschedule.

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Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

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