Duplex is entirely safe and is used to detect narrowing or blockages within the arteries or other abnormalities of the arteries that may affect blood flow through the leg. A Duplex will give your Surgeon the information they need to appropriately plan your treatment. The test is painless and does not use any radiation or needles.

What will Happen?

  • You may eat and drink as usual prior to the test and you do not need to remove your hearing aid or glasses.
  • Underwear can be kept on, although we will need to have access to your entire abdomen, leg and foot.
  • A water-based gel, which may feel cold, and a probe will be placed onto your skin.
  • Images will appear on the screen of your blood vessels, similar to the picture above. You may hear some noises from the machine but this is perfectly routine.
  • A clinical vascular scientist (who might be male or female) will perform and interpret your ultrasound scan.
  • After the scan is complete, you will have your blood pressure taken in both legs and arms.

Popliteal entrapment syndrome (PAES)

Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome (PAES) is a rare developmental defect in which the gastrocnemius muscle, popliteus muscle or tendons neighbouring the popliteal artery are abnormally formed and can cause extrinsic compression of the popliteal artery. This happens when the lower limb is maintained in certain positions such as certain types of sport and is often observed in professional athletes or in those with professions that require physical activity. If left undiagnosed, prolonged exposure to PAES can result in micro-trauma to the popliteal artery, and can ultimately lead to localised stenosis, aneurysms or complete occlusion. An arterial duplex of the lower limb while performing dynamic positional imaging in extreme plantar flexion and dorsiflexion positions can be used to diagnose PAES.

Figure 1: Occlusion of the left popliteal artery identified through duplex ultrasound colour-flow imaging in a patient with PAES.