Ultrasound imaging, or sonography, is the use of high-frequency sound waves to produce images of various structures of the body.
An Ultrasound study is performed by a trained technologist and/or physician. Gel is placed on the skin over the area of the body to be examined. Then, the technician glides a scanning probe or transducer over the skin to image the underlying structures. The scanning probe emits high-frequency sound waves into the body that return an echo pattern that is then converted into an image by a computer. These images are recorded and interpreted by a physician who issues a report to your doctor.
Ultrasound is painless, safe, and uses no radiation to create images. No adverse effects have been found on human beings with the safe use of ultrasound for medical imaging.
Ultrasound is most often used to evaluate the fetus in a pregnant woman, as well as to study structures in the abdomen such as the liver, spleen, gall bladder, and kidneys. It is also used to study the uterus, ovaries, and breasts. Soft tissue regions of the extremities can also be evaluated.
Common ultrasound studies include:
- Infant hips
- Rectal cancer staging
- Sonohysterography (ultrasound of the uterus)
- Ultrasound-guided biopsy of the breast, prostate, and thyroid
- Full range of general diagnostic sonography
- Male pelvis/testicular
- Ultrasound guided prostate and thyroid glands