Ultrasound scanning, also referred to as sonography, is a technique used to see tissues and organs inside the body. The approach uses high-frequency sound waves, which cannot be heard by humans, to produce images of structures inside the body. It is quite similar to the sonar which uses sound waves to the see the object.
The technique produces excellent images of organs that are soft or filled with fluid, not much effective to examine air-filled organs or bones. It is a painless procedure that takes 15 to 30 minutes.
The ultrasound is commonly used to evaluate the progress of the foetus during pregnancy. A lump is a cyst, size and shape of abdominal and pelvic organs, gallstones and blood clots in the legs can also be determined via an ultrasound procedure.
You prepare for the ultrasound depending on the area of the body being scanned. If your abdomen is being scanned, you may need to restrict what you eat and drink before the procedure. If your pelvis is being scanned, you may have to drink several glasses of water beforehand so that your bladder is full.
A small amount of gel is applied on the skin over the area to be scanned. These help the sound waves move into your body. The doctor or ultrasound technician slides the small ultrasound instrument called transducer back and forth through this gel to transmit ultrasound waves into your body and receive their reflected echoes. During the scan, you will be asked to hold your breath or change position to give the best image possible.
The sound waves received by the transducer are processed by a computer appear on a lighted screen in the ultrasound room. After the scan is taken, the gel is wiped off.
Following the ultrasound scan, you can go back to your normal routine and diet. Your doctor may give special follow-up instructions if ultrasound was used during a needle biopsy.
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