What is an ultrasound?
An ultrasound is a medical test that uses high-frequency sound waves to take live pictures from inside your body.
The ultrasound machine has the following components:
- Data storage
- Probe or transducer
The technology is similar to that used by sonar and radar, helping the military to detect planes and ships. This allows your doctor to see problems with organs, vessels, and tissues without the need for an incision. Unlike other imaging methods, it does not use radiation. For this reason, it is a preferred method of observing the development of the fetus during pregnancy.
Types of ultrasound
Diagnostic ultrasound can image internal body organs non-invasively. However, the images are not as good for tissues that contain air, such as bones or lungs. In some cases, ultrasound may show the lining around the bones (such as in the fetus or young children) or the lungs and lungs, when they are filled or partially filled with fluid. It is one of the most common uses during pregnancy to monitor the growth and development of the fetus, but there are many other uses including heart, blood vessels, eyes, thyroid, brain, breast, abdominal organs, skin, imaging. And muscles. Ultrasound images can be displayed in 2D, 3D, or 4D (3D moving).
These applications include Doppler and colour Doppler ultrasound to measure and visualize blood flow within the body or in the vessels of the heart. It can also measure the speed of blood flow and the direction of movement. This is done using colour-coded maps called colour Doppler images. Doppler ultrasound is commonly used to determine if plaque formation within the carotid arteries is blocking blood flow to the brain.
A method of measuring and displaying the relative appearance of tissues that can be used to separate tumors from healthy tissue. This information is displayed as colour-coded maps of relative visibility; Black and white maps showing high contrast tumor images compared to anatomical images; Or colour-coded maps that are superimposed on the anatomical image. Elastography can be used to evaluate liver fibrosis, a condition in which excess scar tissue forms in the liver due to inflammation.
It is also an important method for imaging the body. For example, an ultrasound-guided needle biopsy can help doctors see the location of the needle, which is guided to the chosen target, that is, the mass or tumor in the breast. Additionally, it is used to obtain real-time images of the position of the catheter tip as it is inserted into a blood vessel and guided along the vessel. It can also be used for minimally invasive surgery to guide the surgeon with real-time images of internal body parts.
Therapeutic or interventional ultrasound
Therapeutic ultrasound produces a high level of noise production that can be targeted to specific targets to heat, shrink, or break down tissues. One type of therapeutic ultrasound uses high-intensity beams of high-intensity sound and is called high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU). Ultrasound or MRI is used to identify and target diseased or abnormal tissues in the body (for example, the tissue to be treated, to guide and monitor treatment in real-time and to confirm the effectiveness of treatment) without opening or tearing the skin or damaging the surrounding tissue. HIFU is currently approved by the FDA for pain relief and more recently for the ablation of prostate tissue.
Preparation for an ultrasound
The steps you need to take to prepare for an ultrasound depending on the area or organ being examined. Your doctor may tell you to fast for eight to 12 hours before the ultrasound, especially if your abdomen is being examined. Undigested food can block sound waves, making it difficult for a technician to get a clear picture.
For the gallbladder, liver, pancreas, or spleen exam, it is recommended to eat a fat-free meal in the evening before the exam and to fast until the next procedure. However, you can continue to drink water and take any medications as prescribed. For other tests, you may be asked to drink lots of water and hold your urine so that your bladder is full and clearly visible.
Inform your doctor of any medications, over-the-counter medications, or herbal medications you may be taking prior to the test. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and ask yourself any questions before the procedure. This has minimal risks. Unlike X-rays or CT scans, ultrasounds do not use radiation. For this reason, they prefer to examine the developing fetus during pregnancy.
Before the test, you put on a hospital gown. You can lie on a table that will expose a part of your body for the test. An ultrasound technician called a sonographer applies a special lubricating jelly to your skin. They can run an ultrasound transducer on your skin to avoid friction. The transducer has a similar appearance to the microphone. Jelly also helps transmit sound waves.
The transducer sends high-frequency sound waves through your body. The waves resonate when they touch a dense object, such as an organ or bone. Those echoes are reflected back to the computer. Sound waves are louder than the pitch that the human ear can hear. They form a picture that the doctor can understand. Depending on the area being examined, you may need to relocate so that technicians have better access.
After the procedure, the gel will be wiped off your skin. The entire procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes, depending on the area examined. You will have the freedom to learn about your normal activities after the procedure is complete.
After the procedure
After the test, your doctor will review the images and check for abnormalities. They will call you to discuss the results or schedule the next appointment. If there is any abnormality on the ultrasound, you may be given other diagnostic procedures, such as a CT scan, MRI, or tissue biopsy, depending on the area examined. If your doctor can diagnose your condition based on your test, they can begin your treatment right away.