For Patients

Ultrasound

Why choose us?

The South Coast Vascular Laboratory has been established in the Illawarra since 1985, and just recently expanding up to the Macarthur district, opening up South West Vascular Laboratory in Camden.  Our three laboratories (Wollongong, Warilla and Camden) all specialise in performing diagnostic ultrasounds of the veins and arteries throughout the body.

It’s important to know that a Duplex Ultrasound is only as good as the person performing it. To ensure optimum results, the scan should be performed by a specialist Vascular Sonographer who only scans arteries and veins every day, as is the case at South Coast and South West Vascular Laboratories.

Vascular Ultrasound is a very specialised and detailed process, which should take between 30 to 45 minutes per scan to receive an accurate diagnosis.

All of our examinations are performed by highly qualified accredited Vascular Sonographers whom have more than 40 years experience.

The results of the Vascular Ultrasound also need to be interpreted by a Vascular Specialist.  Our Vascular Laboratories have a very close working relationship between the Sonographers and the Vascular Surgeons, allowing for constant feedback and ensuring a complete and personalised treatment plan for our patients

What is Duplex Ultrasound?

Ultrasound Machines do not produce any radiation (unlike x-rays) and they don’t involve needles or injections.

The word ‘Duplex’ refers to the two different elements involved in this kind of scan, although in reality there are technically three stages involved. In fact, in some parts of the world, it is referred to as ‘triplex scanning’, or ‘colour flow Duplex scanning’.

The initial process involved is a ‘greyscale/B-mode ultrasound’ scan. The second part of the process is the ‘Doppler ultrasound’ scan, beamed into one specific area of the body and capable of being directed inside a vein or artery. By combining the ultrasound picture generated with the specific Doppler waveform, Doppler ultrasound can be used to measure blood flow in the artery or vein.

Finally, the third part of the scanning process is the ‘colour flow’/‘colour-coded’ element. Computers these days are so fast that any movement on the black and white ultrasound picture can be picked up and ‘coded’ as either blue or red depending on the direction of flow, enabling blood flow to be seen in real time. It is this ability of the Duplex Ultrasound scan to actually see the flow in real life, which makes it such an incredibly powerful technique in the investigation of every individual patient’s arterial or venous problems and in the determination of which treatment – or combination of treatments – is best for that patient.

Is Ultrasound safe?

Ultrasound has been around for about 60 years now and studies have shown that it is a safe technique with no harmful side effects and that is why it can be used in pregnancy. There is no radiation and no needles.

What to expect on the day or your ultrasound?

Depending on the type of examination you are having you may need some preparation.

Some of our scans require you to fast, others require you to change into a gown, or you may just be asked to simply lie down flat on your back and perhaps you may fall asleep.

You will be shown into the ultrasound room, where the examination will be performed by an Accredited Vascular Sonographer.

A jelly like substance is then placed onto your skin, to the area of interest. The sound waves don’t travel through air so this allows transmission of the sound waves into your body. The ultrasound probe produces sound waves that will form the images. You will be completely unaware of these sound waves and there should be no discomfort during the examination apart from a little pressure.

About our machines

The South Coast Vascular Laboratory uses The Aplio™ 300 ultrasound system from Toshiba Medical, representing ‘State of the Art’ in ultrasound scanners. The Aplio™ Ultrasound systems are used in speciality vascular departments around the world and Toshiba is recognised as leading innovation in the medical imaging industry.

The Aplio™ 300 system utilises unique ultrasound technology to produce clear images of arteries and veins for a more accurate diagnosis. The use of Toshiba’s “Differential Tissue Harmonic Imaging” and “Precision” imaging combine to produce the clearest diagnostic images for the reporting physicians and referrers.  A clearer picture allows the Doctors to identify disease processes and the extent by using non-invasive ultrasound in a comfortable and safe environment.

By utilising the Aplio™ 300 wide bandwidth Colour Doppler function the Doctors can get a detailed look at how blood is flowing through arteries and veins. This new high end technology means that stenosis (or narrowing) and clots can be identified with greater confidence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ultrasound has been shown to be a safe technique with no harmful side effects and that is why it can be used in pregnancy. It does NOT involve radiation or needles

Appointments with the South Coast and South West Vascular Laboratories are necessary, as each examination is different.   Please phone one of our offices to schedule an appointment.

Depending on the type of scan being performed, you may be asked to fast.  See our fasting instructions below.

If you are an insulin diabetic patient, please let our receptionist know.  Please follow the following fasting preparation.

Avoid all fatty foods, gassy drinks and dairy products the day before your ultrasound.  On the morning of your appointment, have 2 pieces of toast, with either Vegemite or jam with black tea or coffee.  Take your insulin as usual and any other medication you may be on with a sip of water.  Please try not having anything else to eat, until after your examination, though if you need something else to eat, please have something.

Aorta, Iliac Arteries & Pelvic Veins – Please avoid all fatty foods, gassy drinks and dairy products the day before your ultrasound.  Then have nothing to eat from 9pm the night before your appointment.  If you are on medication, please take this with a sip of water.  Please do not chew chewing gum or smoke cigarettes on the morning of your appointment.

Renal Arteries – Please avoid all fatty foods, gassy drinks and dairy products the day before your ultrasound.  Then have nothing to eat from 9pm the night before your appointment.  Please drink one to two litres of water the day before and on the morning of your appointment, please drink 2-3 glasses, you do not need to hold this water.  Please take any medication.  Please do not chew chewing gum or smoke cigarettes on the morning of your appointment.

Please avoid any foods that cause gas in your abdomen.  If you are aware that you have excess gas, a 20-30 minute brisk walk prior to your examination can also assist.

If you are currently wearing compression stockings and are coming to us for a venous duplex, please do not wear these on the day of your ultrasound.

To claim a Medicare Rebate, you must have a referral from either your GP or specialist, please bring this along with your Medicare Care Card and if you have one, your Centrelink Pension or Healthcare Card.

Please also bring along any other imaging results you have had performed elsewhere.

The time required depends on what type of ultrasound you are having.  A standard ultrasound can take 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Medicare states that to claim a Medicare Rebate, you must have a referral for your ultrasound.

The South Coast and South West Vascular Laboratories Bulk Bill all patients that have a current Centrelink Pension or Health Care Card.

If you have a Departments of Veteran Affairs Gold or White Card that you know covers you for your service, please bring this along on the day of your appointment.

All other patients will be required to pay the total amount of your scan on the day of service, with a small out of pocket fee, depending on what type of scan you are having.  The South Coast Vascular Laboratory can then process the claim with Medicare on your behalf.  You will be informed of this cost when making your appointment.

The results of your ultrasound will be interpreted by one of our Vascular Surgeons.  A written or emailed report will then be forwarded to the referring doctor, as well as any other nominated doctor within 3 to 4 days.

If the ultrasound is referred to us on an urgent basis, then preliminary results will be forwarded to your referring doctor on the same day as your ultrasound.

Our Wollongong office does not have parking on site, but we are located directly opposite Piccadilly Centre paid Parking Station.  The cost for 1-2 hours parking is 1 to 2 dollars, depending how long you want to park for.  The bus and railway stations are also located directly opposite our building.

We also have a patient drop off point at the back of our building for patients who have difficulty walking to our premises.  To access this area, when entering Denison Street (from Crown Street), pull into the first driveway on the right hand side and phone us on 42288847 to come down and pick you up.

Our Warilla and Camden office both offer ample parking at the rear of our building.

Entry into all sites is flat, providing limited disability access.

If you have any special needs, please contact one of our offices and we can provide you with the correct information you need to access both buildings.

If you cannot attend an appointment for any reason, please contact one of our offices as soon as you can to make alternative arrangements.

South Coast and South West Vascular Laboratories welcome all types of feedback.  If you would like to make a suggestion, compliment or complaint, please email info@scvl.com.au.  We would love to hear from you.

Our specialist doctors are dedicated to providing effective treatment for venous or arterial conditions and giving you back your confidence and wellbeing.