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Sonography (Ultrasound) Services
Sonography is a painless medical procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce visual images of organs, tissues, or blood flow inside the body. Depending on the situation, sonography may be used to examine the abdomen, breasts, prostate, female reproductive organs, heart, blood vessels, and other areas.
In obstetrics, sonography is used to determine the number, age, and location of a fetus, as well as to check for potential birth defects. It is also used to identify abnormalities in the abdomen, such as liver disease or gallstones. Sonograms can also be used to detect heart disease. And therapeutically, sonography is often used to speed healing of injured muscles and joints through the application of deep heat.
Why an ultrasound is performed
Most people associate ultrasound scans with pregnancy. These scans can provide an expectant mother with the first view of her unborn child. However, the test has many other uses.
Your doctor may order an ultrasound if you’re having pain, swelling, or other symptoms that require an internal view of your organs. An ultrasound can provide a view of the:
- brain (in infants)
- blood vessels
An ultrasound is also a helpful way to guide surgeons’ movements during certain medical procedures, such as biopsies.
How an ultrasound is performed
Before the exam, you will change into a hospital gown. You will most likely be lying down on a table with a section of your body exposed for the test.
An ultrasound technician, called a sonographer, will apply a special lubricating jelly to your skin. This prevents friction so they can rub the ultrasound transducer on your skin. The transducer has a similar appearance to a microphone. The jelly also helps transmit the sound waves.
The transducer sends high-frequency sound waves through your body. The waves echo as they hit a dense object, such as an organ or bone. Those echoes are then reflected back into a computer. The sound waves are at too high of a pitch for the human ear to hear. They form a picture that can be interpreted by the doctor.
Depending on the area being examined, you may need to change positions so the technician can have better access.
After the procedure, the gel will be cleaned off of your skin. The whole procedure typically lasts less than 30 minutes, depending on the area being examined. You will be free to go about your normal activities after the procedure has finished.