Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to produce moving images of soft tissues of the body. It produces images of exceptionally high quality and allows physicians to visualize small differences in tissue characteristics, which is especially useful in the diagnosis of disease conditions. Ultrasound is painless and is considered one of the safest diagnostic tools available.
What is ultrasound?
Ultrasound is painless and non-invasive. It uses high frequency sound waves to produce real-time and still images. Ultrasound works best with liquid and soft tissues. It is limited by bone and organs that have air, making some parts of the body not ideal for ultrasound.
Ultrasound provides excellent images of:
When we are able, we also have the capability to do 3D and 4D ultrasound for our OB patients. These are the baby pictures you have likely seen and heard about in the media.
- A fetus
- Blood vessels
- Many other parts of the body
What is an ultrasound exam like?
An ultrasound exam takes place in a dimly lit spacious private exam room. You will be asked to lie down on a cushioned exam table. You will have warm gel placed on the area to be scanned. A transducer (wand) will be moved across the area and images will be obtained. You may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds. Depending on the exam, it will usually take 20 minutes to one hour.
How does it work?
The transducer emits high frequency sound and receives the returning echoes. These echoes are analyzed by the ultrasound machine and produce moving, real-time images. Still and moving images are taken to perform the study.
How to prepare for an ultrasound?
Preparation will depend on the type of exam you are having. For some exams you will need to fast for 8-10 hours, others you will need a full bladder, others require no preparation at all. Your provider will give you your preparation instructions. If you need to change into a gown, it will all be done in the same room as your exam.