Ultrasound imaging is one of the most frequently used medical diagnostic tools. With its varied applications and accuracy in determining medical conditions, physicians all over the world rely on it. Also referred to as a sonography or ultrasound scanning, it is a painless diagnostic procedure that utilizes sound waves to capture images of internal organs.
It helps to determine the shape, size, position, and consistency of soft tissues and organs. The real-time images allow doctors to evaluate the movement of internal organs as well as assess blood flow through blood vessels. A small transducer (probe) and ultrasound gel are applied directly on the skin to transmit high-frequency sound waves from the probe. The gel helps to carry the sound waves to the internal organs and it is instantly displayed as moving images on a screen.
Use of Ultrasound Imaging
Although most commonly used at various stages of pregnancy, ultrasound imaging is also frequently used for the detection and diagnosis of medical problems. It can be used to obtain images of the heart, thyroid, liver, gallbladder, spleen, kidneys, pancreas, bladder, uterus and ovaries. The growth and position of an unborn fetus are also visible through ultrasound images.
It is also used for guiding biopsies and inserting peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) lines. To examine blood clots and plaque buildup in arteries, this kind of diagnostic imaging is extremely helpful.
Advantages of Ultrasound
In the field of diagnostic imaging, ultrasound is considered an undisputed leader. It is easy to administer, implement and assess. With the benefit of live images, doctors can easily analyze a situation and immediately prescribe treatment. It is also an affordable diagnostic method and can be used for almost all types of patients.
Cost-effective: One of the biggest advantages of ultrasound imaging is its affordable pricing. While CT scans and MRIs can be quite expensive, this kind of diagnostic exam does not burden patients.
Complete Visualization: The images obtained from a sonogram are absolutely clear. It allows medical practitioners to access complete images of internal organs in real-time. It is, therefore, easy to see and understand.
Radiation-free: The negative effects of radiation often makes it difficult to prescribe various diagnostic imaging procedures for certain patients. But, an ultrasound can be easily used for assessing patients, especially pregnant ladies who are most vulnerable to radiation.
Enables Seamless Diagnosis: Since ultrasound images can be procured instantly, it allows doctors to seamlessly share the images. They can connect with physicians remotely and discuss medical conditions based on the evaluation of ultrasound reports.
Things To Do Before The Procedure
Although a simple and non-invasive procedure, there are certain things that are recommended by physicians. For abdominal ultrasounds, doctors advise patients to refrain from eating, drinking or smoking for at least 6 hours before the procedure. However, to improve the image quality of pelvic and obstetric ultrasounds, patients are asked to drink 32 ounces of water to fill the bladder.
During the examination, patients can view the images on a monitor. Once the examination is completed, the patient may be asked to wait for a while before getting the results.