The ultrasound examination of the leg arteries, is a painless and non invasive means of assessing the arteries in the leg, commencing with the Common Femoral Artery in the groin, the Superficial Femoral Artery in the upper leg, the Popliteal Artery at the back of the knee and the Peroneal, Anterior and Posterior Tibial Arteries in the lower leg. These arteries supply oxygen rich blood to the leg and foot.
The speed and rhythm of the blood flow within these arteries is analysed using Doppler ultrasound and the internal surface of the vessels are examined to identify narrowing, caused by plaque.
Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other substances found in the blood, and can build up inside the arteries over time. Plaque can slow down or block the flow of blood through the artery, to the tissues of the leg and foot.
You will be asked to change in the privacy of the ultrasound room, removing only your trousers or skirt, leaving your underwear on. The sonographer will leave the room while you change. You will put a gown on over your remaining clothes, with the gown opening down the back.
You will initially lie on your back, but will be required to lie onto your right side and stomach to enable the arteries of the lower leg to be examined. A clear gel will be applied to your skin during the examination, this is to enable the ultrasound to penetrate the skin layer.
The Doppler ultrasound used produces the sound of the blood pulsing in the arteries, which will be heard by you during the study.