An Ultrasound is an image produced on a screen via high-frequency sound waves. While they are most commonly known as a process doctors use during pregnancy to see the fetus at its various stages, ultrasounds are used for many different reasons. Health care professionals utilize this technology to view the heart, liver, kidneys and other vital organs.
How Is An Ultrasound Preformed?
Ultrasounds are performed with the patient lying on a table. The health care professional will apply gel to the skin and then move a device called a transducer along the body where the affected organ is located. The transducer propels sound waves, and those waves bounce around the body tissue. The waves that bounce back to the transducer create an image, which is viewable on a computer screen attached to the device. Ultrasounds do not expose the patient to radiation, as an X-ray would.
When the ultrasound test is completed, the images produced will be analyzed and results will be shared with the patient.
Can Everything Be Seen With An Ultrasound?
There are some limitations to ultrasound technology. It is difficult for sound to travel through air or bone, according to the Mayo Clinic, so the health care professional may order an alternative imaging technique depending on bodily gas and organ location, these may include other imaging techniques such as X-rays, CT or MRI scans. There are also transducers that are made to be inserted into the body to see organs from different angles; these devices allow for ultrasounds to be completed through the esophagus, vagina or rectum.
Why Would I Need To Have An Ultrasound?
Healthcare professionals can order an ultrasound test for various reasons, including cancer diagnoses, obstructions, to analyze blood flow and view developments such as fetuses. Essentially, ultrasounds are used to get a better idea of how your body is working on the inside, so treatment can be decided on quickly if anything is wrong.