What is Ultrasound (Sonography)?
Ultrasound (US) is a diagnostic medical imaging technique that uses inaudible, high frequency sound waves to visualize muscles, tendons, and internal organs in the body (excluding the skull and lungs) and provides a clearer picture (as a sonogram) of soft tissues than X-ray images. Sound wave are emitted by an HDI Technologist over the body part being examined using a handheld device called a transducer. The waves bounce off and/or pass through the body’s organs and tissues and return a signal back to the transducer. The signals are relayed to a special computer that converts that information into a real-time image.
Doppler US is a special ultrasound technique that is used to evaluate blood flow speed and direction through arteries and veins in the body (excluding the skull) and inside body organs. Sometimes, general ultrasound imaging and Doppler US are used together in tests to evaluate presence of disease before symptoms occur, as with Peripheral Vascular Disease and Carotid Artery Screenings.
Ultrasound has been used by sonographers to image the human body for more than 50 years and has become one of the most widely used diagnostic tools in modern medicine.
Ultrasound is commonly used for evaluating:
- A fetus during pregnancy
- Internal tissues and organs
- Organ damage after an illness
- Symptoms of pain, swelling infection
- Breast masses, uterus and ovaries
- Tendons and muscle tears
- Blood flow and vessel or arterial narrowings
- Heart valve function
- Pathological lesions and cancers
- Needle biopsies
Ultrasound and radiation safety
A standard diagnostic ultrasound has no known harmful effects on humans. An ultrasound exam uses no ionizing radiation or contrast agents.