Through the use of intravascular coronary ultrasound (IVUS) it is now possible to thread a tiny ultrasound "camera" into the coronary arteries to give a valuable cross-sectional view from the inside-out, showing the physician where the normal artery wall ends and the plaque begins.
In certain situations, IVUS can assist in the selection and sizing of stents and balloons, and can help to verify that a stent has been properly deployed. This is of increasing importance in the era of drug-eluting stents.
Traditionally, coronary angiography has and still is being used to identify narrowing of the coronary arteries. IVUS, an expansion of traditional angiography, shows a more detailed depiction of the type and levels of plaque. This has proven to be useful is selecting the form of angioplasty that would be most affective.