Ultrasonography or medical sonography is an ultrasound-based diagnostic medical imaging technique used to visualize muscles, tendons and many internal organs, to capture their size, structure and any pathological lesions with real time tomographic images.
Ultrasound has been used by sonographers to image the human body for at
least 50 years and has become one of the most widely used diagnostic tools
in modern medicine. Ultrasound is also used to visualize fetuses during
routine and emergency prenatal care. Such diagnostic applications used
during pregnancy are referred to as obstetric sonography. Properly performed
ultrasound poses no known risks to the patient.
A Doppler ultrasound may help diagnose many conditions, including:
- Blood clots
- Poorly functioning valves in your leg veins, which can cause blood
or other fluids to pool in your legs (venous insufficiency)
- Heart valve defects and congenital heart disease
- A blocked artery (arterial occlusion)
- Decreased blood circulation into your legs (peripheral artery
- Bulging arteries (aneurysms)
- Narrowing (stenosis) of an artery, such as those in your neck
This test may also help your doctor check for injuries to your arteries
or to monitor certain treatments to your veins and arteries.
HOW LONG WILL MY ULTRASOUND TAKE?
Your scan will generally take between 15 and 20 minutes, though we suggest that you allow 45-60 minutes in order to make sure that we have time to show you the best view possible and do not need to rush through your session.
WHY DO I NEED A FULL BLADDER FOR MY ULTRASOUND EXAM?
For ultrasound studies of the pelvis or obstetrical (prenatal) ultrasounds the full bladder acts as a window into the body. It pushes some of the organs (like gas within the bowel) away, and allows us to see much more clearly. A full bladder is absolutely essential for these examinations.
IS IT SAFE?
Extensive studies performed over the past 35 years have shown that prenatal ultrasounds pose no harm to either mother or child. Your healthcare provider uses the exact same technology when performing 2D scans. If you would like further information on the safety of this procedure, take a look at this article:
Most ultrasound exams require no preparation.
Other exams — such as of the gallbladder — require that you forgo food and
liquids for up to six hours before the exam.
Still other exams — such as a pelvic ultrasound — require that you not
urinate before the exam to ensure that your bladder will be full, allowing
better visualization of the uterus, ovaries or prostate.
When scheduling your ultrasound, ask your doctor for specific instructions
for your particular exam.