What is an ultrasound?
An ultrasound study - also called a sonogram - is a medical test that is painless and usually non-invasive. A sonographer performs the test by applying a warm gel to the skin and then placing a transducer above the anatomic structure to be studied. This sends short pulses of ultrasound waves through the body and as the transducer is moved around an image of various organs appears on a television monitor. The high-frequency sound waves and a computer create images of blood vessels, tissues and internal organs.
Purposes of an Ultrasound
Ultrasound is one of the fastest diagnostic tests available so it is used to evaluate many areas. Most commonly people associate the term with expectant mother, because it does not give off radiation it is safe for evaluating the baby during pregnancy. Ultrasound is also used to study:
- Pelvis (uterus and ovaries)
- Breast biopsy, cyst aspiration and needle localization
- Scrotum (testicles)
- Abdomen (gallbladder, liver, pancreas, kidneys and spleen)
- Carotid artery
- DVT (deep vein of the extremities)