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.