Ultrasound imaging, also called sonography, involves exposing part of the body to high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body.
Ultrasound exams are safe and non-invasive, and do not use ionizing radiation (x-ray).
Since ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.
Ultrasound imaging is usually a painless medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.
Conventional ultrasound displays the images in thin, flat sections of the body. Doppler ultrasound is a special ultrasound technique that evaluates blood as it flows through a blood vessel, including the body's major arteries and veins in the abdomen, arms, legs and neck.
Ultrasound is used to help physicians diagnose symptoms such as:
Ultrasound is a useful way of examining many of the body's internal organs, including but not limited to the:
- Heart and blood vessels, including the abdominal aorta and its major branches
- Uterus, ovaries, and unborn child (fetus) in pregnant patients
- Thyroid and parathyroid glands
- Scrotum (testicles)
Doppler ultrasound images can help the physician to see and evaluate:
- Blockages to blood flow (such as clots)
- Narrowing of vessels (which may be caused by plaque)
- Tumors and congenital malformation