Power Doppler

Last revised by Dennis Odhiambo Agolah on 19 May 2022

Power Doppler is a technique that uses the amplitude of Doppler signal to detect moving matter. Power Doppler:

  • is independent of velocity and direction of flow, so there is no possibility of signal aliasing
  • is independent of angle, allowing detection of smaller velocities than color Doppler, facilitating examinations in certain technically challenging clinical setting
  • has higher sensitivity than color Doppler, which makes a trade-off with flash artifacts


Ultrasound images are formed by reflected echoes. These waves have an amplitude (as those in A-, B- and M-mode) and a frequency, which is equal to the frequency of the emitted wave, if the tissue is static. Tissue movement (e.g. blood) promotes a frequency shift (Doppler shift) in the reflected echoes. This is the information used to form B-mode superimposed 2D color Doppler images. The amplitude of frequency shifted echoes is used to form B-mode superimposed 2D Power Doppler images.

Spectral analysis of Doppler signal contains both frequency and amplitude information of a small tissue sample. The vertical axis represents frequency shift (related to color Doppler), the brightness of the pixels represents the amplitude of the signal (related to Power Doppler) and the horizontal axis represents time.

Clinical use

Power Doppler is particularly useful when examining superficial structures, like thyroid, testis, renal grafts and subcutaneous lesions. It may be used to look for tumor vessels, to evaluate tiny low-flow vessels and detect subtle ischemic areas.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: assessing vascularity of abscess
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  • Case 2: assessing testicular vascularity
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