Advantages and pitfalls of three-dimensional ultrasound imaging of carotid bifurcation

E. Vicenzini, L. Galloni, M. C. Ricciardi, S. Pro, G. Sirimarco, P. Pulitano, O. Mecarelli, V. Di Piero, G. L. Lenzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Several specialists use three-dimensional (3D) ultrasound as adjuvant imaging technique in their clinical practice. It has been applied to study carotid plaque morphology, surface and volume during atherosclerosis progression. Nonetheless, no papers have so far described the use of this technique in conditions different than carotid stenosis, such as bifurcation anatomy changes of the caliber and vessel course modifications. Methods: Patients admitted to our ultrasound laboratory for vascular screening were submitted to standard carotid duplex and to 3D ultrasound reconstruction of the carotid bifurcation. Results: Forty normal subjects, 7 patients with caliber alterations (4 carotid bulb ectasia and 3 internal carotid lumen narrowing), 45 patients with course variations (tortuosities and kinking) and 35 patients with internal carotid artery stenosis of various degrees have been investigated. Conclusions: 3D ultrasound is a feasible technique. It can improve carotid axis imaging through a better presentation of caliber variations and vessel course 'at a glance'. 3D ultrasound from the inward flow can provide imaging of the stenosis, but stenosis quantification should always take into account the assessment of plaque morphology and vessel wall.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-316
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Neurology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • Carotid artery imaging
  • Carotid stenosis
  • Extracranial carotid artery tortuosity and kinking
  • Three-dimensional ultrasound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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