All you need to know about Ultrasound
Ultrasound, also known as sonography, is a medical test that produces live images of the inside structure of the body by making use of high-frequency sound waves. The technology is similar to that utilized by sonar and radar, which assists the military with identifying planes and ships.
Through ultrasound, doctors can analyze any problem related to tissues, vessels, and organs without even cutting. Ultrasound does not use any kind of radiation like other imaging techniques do. This is the reason why doctors recommend ultrasound during pregnancy to detect the position of the development of the fetus.
Why is Ultrasound performed?
People mostly relate ultrasound with pregnancy as these scans are useful in providing information about the development of the unborn child. Other than pregnancy, ultrasound is done in many cases. If you have a swelling or an injury or anything related to the internal organ of the body, the doctor may recommend you to get an ultrasound sound. As it will help in examining the exact cause of the problem.
With the help of ultrasound, we can get various information about organs, such as –
- Blood vessels
Other than the above-mentioned parts, it can also be used to –
- Take images of the breast and help in guiding biopsy of breast cancer.
- Guide in the planning of needle biopsy which is a process where a needle is used to remove cells from an abnormal area and give it for lab testing.
- Examine various heart conditions such as damage caused after a heart attack, congestive heart failure, etc. “Echo” or “Echocardiogram” is the word that is used for the ultrasound of the heart.
Doppler ultrasound is a painless test that is used to know the blood flow through the blood vessel by using bouncing high-frequency sound waves off circulating the red blood cells. A regular ultrasound too uses sound waves to capture the images but it can’t show the flow of the blood.
It helps the doctor to evaluate the following things –
- Reduction in blood flow to certain organs
- Narrowing of vessels
- Increase inflow of blood
With information about the speed and volume of the bloodstream acquired from a Doppler ultrasound picture, the specialist can often decide if a patient is a decent candidate for a procedure like angioplasty.
What is the risk involved?
There are no known risks regarding ultrasound and it is considered to be a safe process as it uses lo power sound waves. Though it is a valuable tool but it still cannot be used to detect various problems.
It is not effective for body parts that have gas in them or are hidden behind bone such as the head or lungs. This is because sound cannot travel properly through air or bone. To examine these parts of the body, other imagining tools like CT scans, MRI, or X-Rays can be used.
What are the benefits of ultrasound?
- It is a painless process as it does not require the insertion of any needle or injections.
- It is less expensive as compared to other imaging tools and is easy to use and widely available.
- It does not use radiation, so it is considered to be a safe tool.
- It can be temporarily uncomfortable but cannot be painful.
- It is majorly used to examine the development of the fetus in pregnant women.
- It gives more clear visuals of the soft tissues as compared to the X-Rays.
- It provides real-time images and is considered a good tool for guiding procedures in a biopsy.
What happens after an ultrasound?
After you have got your ultrasound done, doctors will review and check for any condition and discuss it with the patient. If they find something to be abnormal, they may ask you to take further diagnostic tests like CT scans, MRIs, etc. And, if they diagnose the problem through ultrasound itself, then they may start the treatment immediately.