What is diagnostic ultrasound?
Ultrasound is the procedure of using high frequency sound waves to capture live imagery on a screen. The imagery produced through ultrasound is clear enough to help the doctor analyse any problem in the organs. The process differs from other imaging procedures because radiation is not involved.
What is ultrasound used for?
The biggest advantage offered by an ultrasound is that it does not require radiation to create the image. For this reason ultrasound is most commonly used with pregnant women. Whilst the levels of radiation used by other imaging techniques are rarely problematic for an adult patient they could pose a threat to the baby.
Apart from routine pregnancy checks, doctors will usually suggests an ultrasound when the patient feels pain or swelling and the causes is suspected to be internal. These symptoms require an internal overview of the organs to identify the underlying problem. Ultrasound is helpful in providing live imagery of bladder, kidneys, thyroid, blood vessels, ovaries, gallbladder, pancreas, uterus, spleen, liver and other internal organs for diagnostic purposes.
What is the procedure like?
Since ultrasound can be done on the skin in various locations depending on the organ to be examined, the process and its preparation will vary according to the area in question.
You will be asked to lie down on a table after changing into a suitable gown. The sonographer starts by applying a lubricating gel over the area under observation. The gel helps in ensuring smooth movement of the ultrasound transducer which is responsible for transferring high frequency waves into the body. The sonographer receives live imagery on the screen and monitors it while moving the transducer around the affected area. Once done, the gel will be wiped off your body and you can just change back into your clothing and head home.
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