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.
Ultrasounds can be of several types and may be used for several procedures. These include the following:
This type of ultrasound scan produces flat two-dimensional black-and-white images of the scanned area
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.
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.
It is used to create images of the organs and structures within the abdomen.
It is used to create images of the structures within the breast.
It is used to measure blood flow and detect abnormalities in blood vessels.
This is a specialised ultrasound that is used to evaluate the heart of a developing foetus and diagnose any structural abnormalities.
It is used to produce pictures of the kidneys and related structures.
It is used to produce images of the pelvic region, including the uterus, ovaries, and bladder.
It is used to examine the thyroid gland and surrounding tissues to diagnose and monitor thyroid conditions.
This type of ultrasound uses a small probe inserted into the rectum to produce images of the prostate gland and surrounding tissues.
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.
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:
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 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 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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
During an ultrasound:
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.
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