A highly specialized test to study internal areas of the body and the health of an unborn baby
Ultrasound uses sound waves to study specific areas of the body, and to check the health of an unborn baby. The radiologists and physicians at Hurley Medical Center use ultrasound to help diagnose many medical conditions, such as kidney disease, gallbladder disease, cancer and blood clots.
Ultrasound is typically non-invasive, involves little or no discomfort, and does not require extensive patient preparation. Ultrasound does not require radiation, special dyes or anesthesia. It is also safe, effective and quick; since it has no known side effects, ultrasound is often used in place of more invasive examination methods or surgery, and most exams take only 20 to 60 minutes (with some finished in as little as five minutes!).
How does ultrasound work?
Ultrasound works by placing a transducer, a small microphone-like device, over the area being examined. Sound waves pass harmlessly through the skin from the transducer and bounce off from certain organs or tissues, creating “echoes.” Echoes are reflected back through the transducer, which converts them into electrical signals that appear as a picture on a TV monitor. These moving images may be viewed immediately, and recorded or photographed for further study.
During an ultrasound exam, the Hurley technologist will have you change into a hospital gown and position you on the exam table. A gel or liquid will be applied to the skin of the area being examined to improve image quality. The technologist will pass the transducer several times over the area being examined. Depending on the exam, you may have to stay still, change positions, hold your breath, or do simple breathing exercises. After the exam, the technologist washes off the gel or liquid, and you are ready to get dressed. The Hurley radiologist will review the exam and report the results to your doctor. Your doctor will review the results with you.
Doppler ultrasound can show movement inside the body, such as blood flow or heartbeats.
Transvaginal and transrectal ultrasound involves the placement of specifically designed transducers into the vagina or rectum to provide better images than traditional ultrasound or other diagnostic methods.