What is an ultrasound and what are the benefits of using ultrasound

Ultrasound imaging, also called sonography, is an amazing way of seeing the structure and function of the body using high frequency (but inaudible) sound waves. Ultrasound images are captured in real-time; therefore, they can show movement of the body’s internal organs as well as blood flowing through the blood vessels. Unlike X-ray and CT imaging, there is no ionizing radiation exposure associated with ultrasound imaging. Ultrasound is a medical tool that can help your Healthcare Provider evaluate, diagnose and treat many medical conditions.

 

It is important to know that a technologist who has received national certification by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) will perform your exam.

Do you only perform ultrasound on babies?

No. The following is a list of ultrasound services we provide.

Abdominal Sonogram

Used to evaluate the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, spleen, kidneys, aorta, vena cava, and common bile duct for symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, enlarged liver or abnormal blood work. Some of the disease processes that can be detected are gallstones, liver disease, aneurysm of the aorta, kidney disease, tumors, and appendicitis.

Kidney (Renal) Sonogram

Used to evaluate the kidneys, ureters, and bladder for common symptoms such as flank pain, blood in the urine and abnormal blood work. Some of the disease processes that can be detected are kidney stones, cysts, tumors, obstruction, abnormal emptying of the bladder, and inflammation.

Thyroid Sonogram

Used to evaluate the thyroid, lymph nodes and structures in the neck for common symptoms such as enlarged thyroid, enlarged lymph nodes and abnormal blood work. Some of the disease processes that can be detected are thyroid nodules, thyroid diseases, cysts, tumors and inflammation.

Testicular Sonogram

Used to evaluate the testicles, scrotum and surrounding vasculature for tumors, fluid in the scrotum, infection or torsion (twisting) of the testicle with common symptoms being pain and swelling.

Breast Sonogram

Used to evaluate the breasts and axillary region for tumors or cysts, evaluation of breast implants, or infection. Used in conjunction with Mammography.

Obstetrical Sonogram

Used to evaluate the uterus, ovaries, placenta and fetus during pregnancy for location of the pregnancy, confirmation of heartbeat, number of fetuses and overall health of maternal uterus ovaries.  Indications include confirmation of pregnancy, uncertain last menstrual period, bleeding during pregnancy, history of miscarriage, history of tubal pregnancy, fetal abnormalities, fetal growth and fetal position.

“Dating” ultrasounds are typically performed between 5 and 10 weeks gestation while anomaly screenings are typically performed between 18 and 20 weeks gestational age.

Nuchal Translucency Scan

Used to help identify fetuses at greatest risk of having a chromosomal abnormality such as Down Syndrome Screening.

Biophysical Profile (Fetal Wellbeing) Sonogram

Used to assess the wellbeing of the fetus. During this exam the baby’s position, heart rate and activity will be monitored. Evaluation of the placenta and amniotic fluid will be performed. Growth of the baby may also be evaluated during this exam if requested by your healthcare provider.

Gynecological Sonogram

Used to evaluate the uterus, endometrium (lining of the uterus), cervix, and ovaries for common symptoms such as pelvic pain, abnormal vaginal bleeding, bloating, and IUD placement. Some of the disease processes that can be detected are cysts, Fibroids (uterine tumors), and ovarian tumors.

Infertility Sonogram

Used to evaluate the uterus, endometrium (lining of the uterus), cervix, and ovaries to evaluate for uterine or ovarian anomalies, monitor ovarian follicles and evaluate the thickness of the endometrium to assist in the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process.

Venous Doppler Sonogram

Used to evaluate the veins in the extremities for thrombus (clot) for common symptoms such as leg or arm pain and swelling. Some findings can include DVT (deep vein thrombosis), Baker’s cyst, edema and hematoma.

Carotid Artery Sonogram

Used to evaluate the blood flow in the arteries of the neck that supply blood to the brain and face for common symptoms such as headache, dizziness, visual disturbances, numbness or weakness in the arm or face, high blood pressure or stroke.

Arterial Sonograms

Used to evaluate the arteries throughout the body to assess blood flow and vascular disease.

  • Renal Artery Doppler used to evaluate blood flow to the kidneys due to uncontrolled high blood pressure or kidney transplant.
  • Aorto-Iliac Doppler used to evaluate blood flow through the Aorta and Iliac arteries
  • Porto-hepatic Doppler used to evaluate blood flow to the liver due to liver failure, cirrhosis and stent placement
  • Arterial Doppler of the extremities used to evaluate the blood flow of the arteries in the arms and legs

Is Ultrasound Safe

There are no known harmful effects associated with the medical use of ultrasound. The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, an association of physicians, sonographers, scientists, and engineers, has a Bio-effects committee that meets regularly to consider the bio-effects and safety of ultrasound. They have adopted the following statement.

“There are no known harmful effects associated with the medical use of sonography. Widespread clinical use of diagnostic ultrasound for many years has not revealed any harmful effects. Studies in humans have revealed no direct link between the use of diagnostic ultrasound and any adverse outcome. Although the possibility exists that biological effects may be identified in the future, current information indicates that the benefits to patients far outweigh the risks, if any.”

 

– American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine

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