Diagnostic ultrasound or medical sonography uses sound waves to produce images within the body. An ultrasound scan can monitor an unborn baby or a condition or guide a surgeon during procedures.
Ultrasound scan purpose
There are many reasons for using an ultrasound, including to:
- It helps to view the ovaries and uterus during pregnancy
- Monitor the budding baby’s health
- Evaluate blood flow
- Diagnose gallbladder disease
- Analyze a breast lump
- Estimate joint inflammation (synovitis)
- Guides for biopsy or tumor treatment
- Review the thyroid gland
- Find genital and prostate problems
- Evaluate metabolic bone disease
Before your ultrasound begins, you may need to do the following:
- Remove any jewelry or accessories from the examination area
- Remove or reposition some of your clothing
- Suggested changing into a gown
You’ll lie on an examination table for the following processes.
During the procedure
Over the examination area, the examiner applies a gel to your skin. It helps control air pockets, which tend to block the sound waves from creating authentic images. This gel is safe, water-based, and easy to remove from the skin.
A trained technician, also known as a sonographer, uses a small, hand-held device (transducer) pressing against the area that needs examination and moves the position as required to capture the exact images. These transducers transmit sound waves into your body, collect the ones that bounce back, and send them back to the computer for creating and producing the images.
Sometimes, ultrasounds help scan from the inside of your body. In this circumstance, the transducer gets attached to a probe inserted into your body’s innate opening.
- Transesophageal echocardiogram. A transducer, inserted into the oesophagus, helps obtains heart images.
- Transrectal ultrasound. Creates photos of the prostate by positioning a special transducer into the rectum.
- Transvaginal ultrasound. Inserted into the vagina to analyze the uterus and ovaries.
Ultrasounds are usually painless. Yet, you may undergo mild despair as the sonographer navigates the transducer over your body. Typically, ultrasound exam takes place from 30 minutes to an hour.
When your examination has ended, the doctor qualified to interpret imaging studies (radiologist) examines the images and sends a report to your doctor. Your doctor will share and discuss the results with you.
You should generally return to normal activities immediately after an ultrasound.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 04 October 2022