Everything About an Ultrasound Examination Explained

Ultrasound Examination

If you have been recommended for an ultrasound, you must continue reading the article to understand this examination in detail. So stay tuned to get enlightened!

So, What Is an Ultrasound?

Also known by the names sonography or ultrasonography, it is a noninvasive imaging examination utilizing high-frequency sound waves to generate real-time pictures or videos of internal organs.

This examination empowers so many health experts out there to study the soft tissues inside the body without making any sort of incisions. Additionally, the modality of ultrasound ditches the use of radiation.

How Does Ultrasound Work?

During this procedure, the technologist conducting the examination will pass a device called a transducer over an area of the body or inside a body opening. Further, a thin layer of gel is applied to the skin to transmit the ultrasound waves from the transducer through the gel and then into the body.

The inside of the body is studied with the help of ultrasound waves and the real-time images are captured on a computer. A radiologist then prepares the final report which is then forwarded to the treating doctor who recommended the examination.

What Are the Types of Ultrasound?

Indisputably, ultrasound plays a vital role to diagnose and treat a plethora of diseases and conditions. The following are some of the types and organs that can be examined with the aid of this methodology:

  • General Ultrasound- To examine the internal anatomy of organs including the pelvis, abdomen, scrotum, and urinary system, the modality of general ultrasound is relied heavily upon.
  • Breast Ultrasound- Although for verifying the functioning of breasts the procedure of mammography is looked upon. However, at times, a mammogram doesn’t provide the exact picture.
  • Consequently, a breast ultrasound can emerge as a savior in this situation. It is employed to take images close to the chest wall.
  • Cardiac Ultrasound- As the name indicates; an ultrasound is utilized to assess the condition of the heart. Additionally, heart chambers, valves, and walls are also examined to ascertain that everything is ok with this fist-sized organ.
  • Obstetrical Ultrasound- This technique uses sound waves to produce pictures of a developing embryo or fetus.

Who Performs an Ultrasound?

An ultrasound is performed by a technologist or technician in the shape of sonography professional. They are trained with heaps of experience in the field.

The technologists are known to handle several individuals in a day. So, you are in their safe hands.

How to Prepare for an Ultrasound?

The type of ultrasound decides the preparation you’re going to have. Simply put, there are different ultrasounds that require no preparation.

For pelvis ultrasound which also includes the female reproductive system and the urinary system during pregnancy, the prerequisite is to fill up the bladder with water prior to going for an ultrasound.

For abdomen ultrasounds, the individual needs to fast (No solid food only water) or some adjustment in the diet for a few hours before going for the test.

Anyways, whatever ultrasound you are recommended your healthcare provider will brief the necessary information if any particular preparation is required or not. They may inform you of vital instructions when lining up your ultrasound or during an appointment.

What Happens at the Time of Ultrasound?

As aforementioned, ultrasound preparation depends upon the body part undergoing the scanner. The healthcare provider may ask you to wear a hospital gown or take off a certain piece of clothing.

Ultrasounds where the transducer is applied over the skin (not inserted inside the body), have the following steps:

  • On a comfortable table, you will lie on your back or side.
  • A small amount of water-soluble gel is applied to the skin over the area undergoing examination by an ultrasound technician. Not to mention, the gel is safe for your skin and won’t stain your clothes.
  • Now, the technician will use the transducer device moving it over the area where the gel is applied to procure the image inside the body.
  • For a clear image, the technician may ask you to remain still or even hold your breath for a few seconds.
  • Lastly, when enough images of the area are captured the technician may wipe off the remaining gel on your skin, and your ultrasound is done.

Usually, an hour or 30 minutes are required for an ultrasound. Additionally, for any queries related to ultrasound, it’s best to ask your healthcare provider beforehand.

Does It Pain During an Ultrasound?

External ultrasounds are generally not painful and you won’t even feel the sound waves. However, if it is a full bladder procedure, it might sound uncomfortable.

Plus, it can be uncomfortable for a pregnant woman to lie on the examination table. Also, the ultrasounds that go inside body cavities like the vagina or rectum may be uncomfortable. But they are certainly not gonna hurt you!

Are Ultrasounds Safe?

If this is the first time you are getting an ultrasound done, you might have several questions revolving in your mind. And one of them can be, are ultrasounds safe?

To give you a piece of mind, research to date has shown that there are no side effects of embracing ultrasound technology. But at the same time, you must get this examination conducted only by a professional.

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