For the majority of people, when they hear the word “ultrasound” they think about pregnancy. However, this type of diagnostic imaging is used on people for many different reasons. If you have ever been to the doctor and they have requested that you have an ultrasound completed, you may be a bit confused. In this post we will give you some more information about this standard medical imaging procedure so that you can know precisely what is going to happen in the case that your doctor suggests you visit a diagnostic imaging center to have one completed.
What is an ultrasound?
When you have an ultrasound, you are having a medical test that will capture live images from the inside of your body. This is done by the machine using high frequency sound waves. The process is also referred to as sonography. In the most basic terms, the technology that is used in ultrasounds is very similar to sonar and radar. This is the same type of technology that is used to detect detect both planes and ships by the military. When an ultrasound is used by your doctor, it allows for your healthcare provider to see any issues that may be occurring in your organs, tissues, and vessels, all without any sort of incision being made. There is no radiation used when someone has an ultrasound, this is why this procedure is the most common way in which women are shown the current state of their womb when they are pregnant.
Why are ultrasound performed?
There are numerous reasons why ultrasounds are performed. As we mentioned earlier, most people associate this procedure with pregnancy, however, the test does have many other uses. If you are experiencing pain, swelling, or other unexplained symptoms, your doctor may want to take a closer look at your internal organs. An ultrasound can provide a view of many organs such as:
Brain (in infants)
Blood vessels and more
Preparing for an ultrasound
If you are scheduled to have an ultrasound soon, your preparations will be different depending on which organ your doctor will be examining. For instance, your doctor may tell you that you need to fast for eight to twelve hours prior to your ultrasound. This is often the case when the abdomen is going to be examined. When there is undigested food in your system, sound waves can be blocked, which prevents the technician from being able to get a clear picture.
If you are having your gallbladder, liver, spleen, or pancreas examined, you may be able to eat a fat-free meal the night before your test takes place, after which you will need to fast. You will, however, be able to continue to drink water and take the medications that have been prescribed to you by your doctor. Additionally, you could be asked to drink a lot of water and hold your urine so that your bladder is full when the doctor is trying to get a view of it when the ultrasound is taking place.
How is an ultrasound performed?
When it is time for your ultrasound to happen, you will most likely be lying down on a table with a certain area of your body exposed for the test. An ultrasound technician, also known as sonographer, will first apply lubricating jelly to your skin. This will keep friction from occurring when the ultrasound transducer is applied to your skin. The transducer itself looks like a microphone, so there is truly nothing to be frightened of.
The transducer will then be used to send high-frequency sound waves through your body, which then hit the organ that your doctor is wanting to see. Those echoes are then transmitted back into the computer. These sounds will form a picture that will be interpreted by your physician.
Schedule an ultrasound
If you have been having strange symptoms or pain in a certain area of your body, it is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. You doctor may recommend that you have an ultrasound completed so that you both can find out what is occurring internally. If this is the case, and you live in New Jersey, schedule an appointment at Vision Imaging of Kingston today. We would be happy to complete this procedure for you!