Ultrasound Imaging 101

Ultrasound Imaging 101

An Ultrasound is an image that is created using high-frequency sound waves. It may also be called sonography, a sonogram or ultrasound imaging. The images from an ultrasound are not produced using x-rays or radiology.

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How Does Ultrasound Imaging Work?

An ultrasound is performed using a transducer that emits sound waves at a high frequency. These sound waves bounce off of vessels, organs and bones in the body to produce an image that doctors can see on a computer monitor.

In some cases, a technician may perform a 3-D or 4-D ultrasound, which allows medical professionals to learn more about what is happening inside the body without performing invasive surgery.

Why Do Doctors Order Ultrasounds?

There are several reasons doctors may order ultrasounds.

Ultrasounds are frequently performed during a woman’s pregnancy to make sure that the fetus and placenta are developing properly. Doctors may also order ultrasounds to help them diagnose issues related to:

  • Blood vessels
  • The gall bladder
  • The thyroid gland
  • Breast lumps
  • Genital abnormalities

An ultrasound may even be used to help doctors learn more about how organs and soft tissues are functioning, including the heart, stomach, pancreas and liver.

How Is Ultrasound Imaging Performed?

An ultrasound is performed using a wand called a transducer that emits high-frequency sound waves. In most cases, the transducer will be placed on the skin to gather images. However, some women’s health issues may require a transvaginal ultrasound, which is when the transducer is placed inside the vagina.

What Can I Expect During an Ultrasound?

If the technician will be performing an abdominal ultrasound, he will smear some gel over your skin to help transmit sound waves. He will then glide the transducer over your skin to obtain images. For a trans vaginal ultrasound, you may be asked to wear a gown rather than your own clothing, and the technician will apply gel to the transducer so that you do not experience pain. Ultrasounds typically take between 30 minutes to an hour to complete.

How Can I Prepare for an Ultrasound?

In most cases, you will not have to do anything in order to prepare for an ultrasound. This will help doctors diagnose internal injuries or issues quickly, and the images they receive will help them determine whether more detailed scans will be necessary.

If you  need an ultrasound, please visit one of our Texas emergency room locations. Our technicians and doctors can perform an ultrasound to discover or diagnose any issues that you may be having. Our board-certified physicians will get you taken care of, within the comforts of our fully-stocked facility. Schedule an emergency room appointment with us.