If you are wondering why your doctor might order ultrasound imaging, the answer will often vary based on the patient, because it is based on what your doctor is seeking to learn about your condition. An ultrasound is a non-invasive diagnostic tool that uses sound waves to “sees” beneath the surface, in order to locate potential conditions such as gallstones, tendon tears, or blood vessel damage. It can be used to detect abnormal growths, such as a fibroid or cyst in the ovaries. Ultrasounds are both fast and painless, with no exposure to radiation.
All About Ultrasounds
Just as bats create a model of the world around them using echo location, an ultrasound builds an image based on how fast, and in what way the inner structures of the body reflect waves of high frequency sound back. These sounds lie outside the range of human hearing (1 to 5 megahertz), and can be adjusted depending on what and where is being searched.
These waves respond differently, depending on which tissues, spaces, and boundaries, such as bone, they encounter. Using complex software that translates the sound wave signal, an ultrasound paints a visual picture based on 3 dimensional sound wave interference and return. An ultrasound can “see” the difference between blood vessels and other small details, and provide an accurate view of what’s going on inside the body, without surgery.
Why Would You Need an Ultrasound?
Ultrasounds are primarily used for one of two purposes: therapeutic and diagnostic. In a diagnostic test, such as checking for an abdominal growth or herniated area, the physician uses the soundwaves to create an image. Therapeutic uses would include using sound waves to locate a specific target for an injection, or even to heat tissues in order to destroy a tumor. The vast majority of ultrasounds are diagnostic in nature.
Ultrasounds can be used for:
- Examining internal body structures such as the pelvis and abdomen
- Pregnancy scans, which can help the doctor assess the health of the developing fetus
- Musculoskeletal scans which can be used to check specific body parts such as the knee, shoulder, arm, or other body areas
During an ultrasound you will probably be asked to lie down on a table. A technician or doctor will apply a gel to your skin to allow the probe to glide across your skin easily. In some cases, the probe may be placed into the rectum or vagina, in order to gain a more detailed image of whatever area is being scanned. On average, the entire process takes between 15 to 45 minutes to complete. Once complete, you will be able to wipe off the gel and get dressed.
The results are quickly and easily sent to your doctor, helping them to better diagnose and treat your condition.
If you, or a loved one needs an ultrasound, or any other imaging services, or if you would like to schedule an appointment for a mammogram, please call (561) 795-5558 today, or go online to make an appointment. Our board-certified radiologists are right here waiting in the Lake Worth, Wellington, Belle Glade, or Royal Palm Beach areas.