Many people who hear the term “Ultrasound” imagine a pregnant woman who is trying to get a sneak peek of her unborn child by getting an ultrasound. Though this is one of the most common uses of ultrasound, it actually has many other applications.
How Ultrasound Imaging Actually Works
Also known as sonography, an ultrasound uses sound waves to develop ultrasound images of the body and tells you what is going on inside it. The instrument known as transducer emits high-frequency which is inaudible to human ears, records the echoes as sound waves and determines the shape, size, and consistency of soft tissues as well as organs.
The sonographers or ultrasound technicians receive a special training in how to perform a test. Then comes the radiologist or the doctor who interprets the ultrasound images. Ultrasound can help in diagnose and treat certain conditions.
What are the Uses of Ultrasound Tests?
Apart from confirming and dating a pregnancy, this diagnostic tool also has many medicinal uses. Ultrasound diagnosis certain conditions and guide doctors through precise medical procedures.
Types of Ultrasound
Most of the ultrasound test procedures are done using the transducer on the surface of the skin. However, in order to get better images, doctors use a special transducer which can be inserted into the body via natural openings.
Transvaginal Ultrasound: A transducer wand (also known as transvaginal ultrasound) is placed in a woman’s vagina to attain better images of her ovaries and uterus.
Transrectal Ultrasound: A transrectal ultrasound is used to diagnose prostate conditions.
Transesophageal Echocardiogram: A transesophageal echocardiogram uses a transducer probe in the esophagus to get better and clearer images of the heart.
Advantages of Ultrasound
Ultrasounds have ample benefits to offer:
· Ultrasounds are generally painless and don’t require needles, injections, or incisions.
· Ultrasound is safer than X-rays and CT scans as it doesn’t require any exposure to ionizing radiation. It also doesn’t provide any harmful effects when used directly.
· Ultrasound captures better images of soft tissues that can’t be achieved through x-rays.
· Ultrasounds are less expensive than other methods and are widely accessible.
What to Expect During Your Ultrasound
Your doctor may offer special instructions like no consumption of any food or drink before getting an ultrasound. It totally depends on the type of ultrasound you are getting.
On the day of your ultrasound, wear comfortable clothes that can be easy to remove or partially remove. In some cases you may need to wear a gown or disrobe, however, the ultrasound technicians can easily access the area that is required to be screened.
The technician will apply a water-based gel to the area so that the transducer can easily glide without any air between.
Typically, an ultrasound takes 30-60 minutes to complete and doesn’t cause any sort of discomfort. The technician will also tell you what they see during the test. However, you should wait for the doctor to confirm the findings that your ultrasound technician discussed with you during the ultrasound scan.
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