Ultrasound

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What is an ultrasound?

Ultrasound scanning, also called "ultrasound imaging" or "sonography," is a method of obtaining images from inside the human body through the use of high-frequency sound waves. The sound waves are recorded and displayed as a live image.

Because ultrasound images are captured in real time, they can show movement of internal tissues and organs, and enable physicians to see blood flow.

Ultrasounds are used for a variety of reasons, one of the most common being during pregnancy to obtain pictures of a baby in the womb. Other types of ultrasound include:

  • Abdomen
  • Abdominal Doppler
  • Breast
  • Pelvis
  • Renal transplant
  • Testicular
  • Thyroid
  • Transvaginal
  • Evaluation of the kidneys, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen and blood vessels of the abdomen
  • Rule out masses and aneurysms

There are a number of specialized exams ultrasounds are used for:

  • Breast-Thyroid biopsies
  • Extensive diagnostic OB
  • Hysterosonograms
  • Soft tissue biopsies

Because ultrasounds provide real-time images, they can also be used to:

  • Guide procedures such as needle biopsies, in which a needle is used to sample cells from an organ for laboratory testing.
  • Help a physician determine the source of abdominal pain, such as stones in the gallbladder or appendix, or an inflamed appendix.
  • Help identify the cause of enlargement of the abdominal organ.

Doppler Ultrasound is a special type of ultrasound study that is used in the examination of major blood vessels. These images can help the physician to see and evaluate:

  • Blockages to blood flow, such as clots
  • Build-up of plaque inside the vessel
  • Congenital malformations

With knowledge about the speed and volume of blood flow gained from ultrasound imaging, the physician often can determine whether you are a good candidate for a procedure such as angioplasty.