An ultrasound is a non-invasive diagnostic technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to capture or produce images or structures within your body. The images offer valuable information for diagnosing and guiding treatment for various diseases and conditions. Most ultrasound Memorial City examinations are performed using a device outside your body, but some require placing a small device inside your body.
Why would I need an ultrasound?
Many people associate ultrasounds with pregnancy, but there are various reasons why your healthcare provider may recommend this diagnostic technique. For example, an ultrasound may be ordered to your doctor may order an ultrasound to:
· Guide a needle for biopsy
· Examine a breast lump
· Diagnose gallbladder disease
· Evaluate blood flow
· Check the thyroid gland
· Diagnose genital and prostate problems
· Assess synovitis or joint inflammation
· Track baby’s growth and development during pregnancy
What are the risks involved?
An ultrasound is a safe imaging technique that uses low-power sound waves and has no known risks. Unlike other imaging tests, ultrasound uses no radiation. Hence, it’s the preferred method for viewing a developing fetus during pregnancy.
However, ultrasound has some limitations. This diagnostic test is ineffective at imaging body parts that have gas in them or are hidden by bone, including the lungs and head. That is because sound waves do not travel well through air or bone. The test also does not provide images of organs located very deep in the human body. Your doctor may order other imaging tests like MRI, CT scans, or X-rays to view these areas.
How do I prepare for an ultrasound?
Most ultrasound exams require no preparation; the steps you will take depend on the area or organs to be examined.
For instance, if your abdomen is being examined, your doctor may ask you to fast for eight to 12 hours before the test. Eating before the test makes it difficult for the technician to get a clear picture since undigested food can block sound waves.
For an examination of the gallbladder, liver, pancreas, or spleen, your doctor may require you to eat a fat-free meal the evening before your test and fast until the procedure. However, you and drink water and take any medications as instructed. For other exams, your care provider may ask you to drink lots of water and hold your urine, so your bladder is full for better visualization.
What to expect during an ultrasound
Before the exam, you will remove jewelry from the examination areas and change into a hospital gown. You will most likely lie on an examination table with a part of your body exposed for the test.
Your ultrasound technician will apply a special lubricating gel over the examined skin area to prevent air pockets that can block sound waves. The gel is water-based, so it’s easy to remove from skin and if needed, clothing. The gel also prevents friction between the transducer and your skin.
The technician will press a small, handheld device (transducer) against the examined area and move it as needed to capture images. The transducer sends sound waves into your body, and waves echo upon hitting a dense object; then, the echoes are reflected on a computer screen.
If the ultrasound is done inside your body, the technician will attach the traducer to a probe inserted into a natural opening.
Consult your healthcare provider at Memorial Women Specialists to learn more about ultrasound.