An ultrasound involves high-frequency sound waves that are used to create images of body cavities and soft body tissue. The most common procedure connected to ultrasounds is checking a baby’s development during a woman’s pregnancy, but there are many other uses for this non-invasive procedure.
Sound waves transfer into the body through a special device called a transducer, which is hand-held by a sonographer and moved around the area where images are desired. The waves bounce off structures within the body to create echoes that are transformed into images. The images then are projected onto a connected computer screen, where a technician/sonographer will view and record information significant to the image. The patient can also see the images, though they may not be able to make sense of it without an explanation from the sonographer.
Unless the patient is viewing an ultrasound of their growing baby, it’s doubtful that the technician will provide any specific information regarding images that are caught and recorded. Depending on the imaging center’s practices, the patient’s doctor will receive a report and discuss findings with the patient or an on-call radiologist will read the images directly following the procedure. Besides discovering how to decorate the nursery, what are some other uses for ultrasounds? Here are a few:
As previously mentioned, a pregnancy ultrasound is the most common type and creates images of an unborn baby. The doctor may order an ultrasound between the 16th and 20th week of pregnancy, but it can be ordered at any time during the full nine months. It’s not uncommon that a woman has two or three ultrasounds during pregnancy; the first might be to confirm the due date and to also check the baby’s early development. Toward the end of pregnancy, the doctor might order an ultrasound to check the baby’s position and the amount of fluid in mom’s uterus.
An ultrasound will detect cancers that weren’t visible on the mammography. A woman’s doctor will order an ultrasound of the breast when an abnormality is detected during a routine mammogram, physical exam, or MRI. An ultrasound can help to determine the size of the mass as well as its make-up; whether it’s solid or fluid-filled.
The doctor may order an ultrasound for a patient who complains of abdominal and other pain. Areas in the abdomen where an ultrasound is effective are the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts, large blood vessels, kidneys, and spleen. The stomach is not a candidate for an ultrasound since it’s not a good structure for transferring sound waves. Air in the stomach prevents the sound transfer.
A pelvic ultrasound provides images of female organs and structures including the uterus, cervix, ovaries and fallopian tubes. One of two ultrasound methods is used. The transvaginal method involves the transducer (the device that sends and receives the sound waves) being placed inside the vagina. The transabdominal method is when the transducer is placed on the abdomen. With each method, the transducer is covered with a conducting gel that allows the device to maneuver smoothly.
A musculoskeletal ultrasound is as its name implies; it is a scan of muscle or bone in areas like a hip, shoulder, knee or elbow.
An ultrasound of the neck, arteries, and veins in the leg will determine a person’s level of circulation, the direction of blood flow and the speed in which it is flowing.
Independent Imaging has multiple imaging scan capabilities, including non-invasive ultrasounds. An ultrasound is painless and requires very little preparation for the patient.
Independent Imaging’s three imaging centers feature state-of-the-art imaging equipment and are fully accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR). With four locations in Palm Beach County, Florida – Wellington, Belle Glade, Lake Worth, and Royal Palm Beach – Independent Imaging is committed to providing results quickly and accurately while easing each patient’s tensions through compassionate care.
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