Medical ultrasound (also known as diagnostic sonography or ultrasonography) is a diagnostic imaging technique based on the application of ultrasound. It is used to see internal body structures such as tendons, muscles, joints, vessels and internal organs. Its aim is often to find a source of a disease or to exclude any pathology.
A Doppler ultrasound is a noninvasive test that can be used to estimate your blood flow through blood vessels by bouncing high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) off circulating red blood cells. A regular ultrasound uses sound waves to produce images, but can't show blood flow.
A Doppler ultrasound may help diagnose many conditions, including:
A Doppler ultrasound can estimate how fast blood flows by measuring the rate of change in its pitch (frequency). During a Doppler ultrasound, a technician trained in ultrasound imaging (sonographer) presses a small hand-held device (transducer), about the size of a bar of soap, against your skin over the area of your body being examined, moving from one area to another as necessary.
This test may be done as an alternative to more invasive procedures, such as arteriography and venography, which involve injecting dye into the blood vessels so that they show up clearly on X-ray images.
A Doppler ultrasound test may also help your doctor check for injuries to your arteries or to monitor certain treatments to your veins and arteries.