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What is Ultrasound (or Sonography)?

Sonography or ultrasound is a non-invasive medical imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images (a sonogram) of the inside of the body. It is also referred to as diagnostic medical sonography. 

Sonography can be very beneficial in diagnosing several medical conditions and even performing medical procedures while receiving live images. The images produced using an ultrasound scan are known as a sonogram.

Ultrasounds play an important role in diagnosing and treating several medical conditions and monitoring the growth of a developing foetus. They must, however, be performed by trained and experienced medical professionals. Ultrasounds are generally safe, and any concerns related to them may be directed to your doctor.

Types of Ultrasounds

Ultrasounds can be of several types and may be used for several procedures. These include the following:

  • 2D ultrasound

This type of ultrasound scan produces flat two-dimensional black-and-white images of the scanned area

  • 3D ultrasound

3D ultrasounds produce three-dimensional still images of the internal body structures and help locate difficult-to-detect tumours or quickly diagnose cancers. The gathered data can be divided and viewed from different angles, providing doctors with a better understanding of the tumour before operating.

  • 4D ultrasound

This is similar to a 3D ultrasound but shows moving images and may be useful to see foetal movements and defects, blood flowing through veins and arteries, waste moving through kidneys, etc.

  • Abdominal ultrasound

It is used to create images of the organs and structures within the abdomen.

  • Breast ultrasound

It is used to create images of the structures within the breast. 

  • Doppler ultrasound

It is used to measure blood flow and detect abnormalities in blood vessels.

  • Foetal echocardiography

This is a specialised ultrasound that is used to evaluate the heart of a developing foetus and diagnose any structural abnormalities.

  • Kidney (Renal) ultrasound

It is used to produce pictures of the kidneys and related structures.

  • Pelvic ultrasound

It is used to produce images of the pelvic region, including the uterus, ovaries, and bladder.

  • Thyroid ultrasound

It is used to examine the thyroid gland and surrounding tissues to diagnose and monitor thyroid conditions.

  • Transrectal ultrasound

This type of ultrasound uses a small probe inserted into the rectum to produce images of the prostate gland and surrounding tissues.

  • Transvaginal ultrasound

For transvaginal ultrasound (TVS), a transducer is inserted into the vagina to produce images of the inside of the vagina and reproductive organs, confirm pregnancy, etc.

Why is an ultrasound done?

Sonography is not only used for monitoring a developing foetus. Rather ultrasounds can be beneficial in various ways. While prenatal care uses sonogram imaging techniques extensively to check for the regular growth of the foetus, ultrasounds find uses in all medical subspecialties. Here are a few common uses for which sonographies are done:

  • Pregnancy ultrasound (prenatal ultrasound)

Ultrasound or sonography in pregnancy may be the most common area where ultrasound is done at regular intervals. Prenatal ultrasounds may be used to confirm a pregnancy and monitor the foetus for normal heart rate, growth, birth defects, amniotic fluid, etc. 

  • Diagnostic ultrasound

Diagnostic ultrasound is used for evaluating the health of internal organs and diagnosing any related medical conditions. This type of sonography may be used to diagnose issues with the thyroid, breasts, kidneys, abdomen, prostate in men, pelvic area, etc.

  • Ultrasound Guidance for Medical Procedures

Ultrasound guidance involves using an ultrasound machine to generate live images of the targeted body part during a medical procedure. The sonogram enables healthcare providers to precisely guide needles or other instruments, enhancing accuracy and minimising complications. Additionally, ultrasound guidance can identify small or hard-to-reach structures, leading to more effective treatment. This type of usage is usually done during minimally invasive procedures.

Who needs an ultrasound scan?

Ultrasound scan is not only required by pregnant women. As indicated by different usages of an ultrasonography scan, this type of procedure may be needed by many people, including the following:

  1. For women struggling with fertility issues, look into the uterus and other internal organs.
  2. Women going through other issues like endometriosis, uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, etc.
  3. Patients going through medical issues related to the abdomen, gallbladder, thyroid, heart, kidney, pelvis, prostate, etc., to get a better look at the internal organs.
  4. Patients need to go through medical procedures like laparoscopy, biopsies, injections, drainages, etc.

Doctors will evaluate the patient’s medical history and symptoms and then decide if they need an ultrasound test. 

Is ultrasound necessary for pregnant women?

Ultrasonography is a very beneficial procedure as part of prenatal care. While ultrasound is not mandatory for women to have during pregnancy, it is highly recommended by medical professionals due to the following benefits that it offers:

  1. Confirmation of pregnancy
  2. Checking foetal growth and development
  3. Detecting potential complications
  4. Monitoring high-risk pregnancies
  5. Assessing amniotic fluid levels
  6. Determining foetal position

Are there any risks associated with ultrasound?

Ultrasound is generally considered safe and non-invasive, with no known risks to the mother or the developing foetus. Ultrasound technology is safe with no harmful side effects as compared to procedures like CT scans or X-rays that use radiation. If a patient has any concerns related to the sonography procedure, they are advised to discuss them with their healthcare provider before undergoing the procedure.

What to do before an ultrasound?

Before an ultrasound test, there are a few things that you can do to prepare for the procedure and ensure that you get accurate results:

  1. Follow the instructions from your healthcare provider and ask if you have any concerns.
  2. Wear loose, comfortable clothing
  3. Your healthcare provider may need you to drink water and not urinate for a certain period before the exam, especially before a prenatal ultrasound. This provides a clearer image.
  4. If you have been referred for an ultrasound by another healthcare provider, make sure to bring any necessary paperwork or imaging results with you to the appointment.

What happens during an ultrasound?

During an ultrasound:

  1. You will be asked to lie down.
  2. A trained sonographer will apply gel to the area being examined, and this will help transmit the sound waves and create clearer images.
  3. The sonography doctor will then use a transducer to emit sound waves and capture images from different angles. The images are viewed in real-time and reviewed by the medical professional. 
  4. The procedure is painless and takes 15-45 minutes. After the exam, the healthcare provider will discuss the results with you.

In case you are getting a transvaginal or transrectal ultrasound, the transducer will be inserted into the vagina or the rectum, and you may feel slight discomfort during the procedure.

To know about Sonography Test, Procedure & Pricing at Indira IVF, call 18003092323.

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