What is an Ultrasound and How It Can Save Your Life

Abdominal Ultrasound

How does an ultrasound work?

Ultrasound is safe and painless, and produces pictures of the inside of the body using sound waves. Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves the use of a small transducer (probe) and ultrasound gel placed directly on the skin. High-frequency sound waves are transmitted from the probe through the gel into the body. The transducer collects the sounds that bounce back and a computer then uses those sound waves to create an image. Ultrasound examinations do not use ionizing radiation (as used in x-rays), thus there is no radiation exposure to the patient. Because 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 a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Ultrasound imaging of the breast produces a picture of the internal structures of the breast. Doppler ultrasound is a special ultrasound technique that allows the physician to see and evaluate blood flow through arteries and veins in the abdomen, arms, legs, neck and/or brain (in infants and children) or within various body organs such as the liver or kidneys. During a breast ultrasound examination the sonographer or physician performing the test may use Doppler techniques to evaluate blood flow or lack of flow in any breast mass. In some cases this may provide additional information as to the cause of the mass.

Benefits of Ultrasound?

  • They are generally painless and do not require needles, injections, or incisions.
  • Patients aren’t exposed to ionizing radiation, making the procedure safer than diagnostic techniques such as X‐rays and CT scans. In fact, there are no known harmful effects when used as directed by your health care provider.
  • Ultrasound captures images of soft tissues that don’t show up well on X‐rays.
  • Ultrasounds are widely accessible and less expensive than other methods.

Abdominal UltrasoundCommon Types of Ultrasound

Pelvic ultrasound

A pelvic ultrasound is used to check female reproductive organs. It can find fibroid tumors, ovarian growths, cysts, and problems with fallopian tubes. Some facilities require that you have a full bladder for your test. Please check with the site where your ultrasound is scheduled. In an exam room, you will lie on a table. A gel will be spread on your lower belly. The transducer will be moved across your belly. The gel helps the sound waves pass through your belly. When the ultrasound is complete, the technologist will make sure he or she has all the information the doctor will need. Sometimes more images are needed. Transvaginal ultrasound sometimes, the technologist will ask the patient to place a small transducer into her vagina. This device contains a tiny transmitter for more complete diagnosis. This is called transvaginal ultrasound. It isused to check the pelvic organs or a very early pregnancy. It is safe, accurate, and does not hurt. The technologist will explain the procedure before she examines you. Abdominal ultrasound An abdominal ultrasound is used to detect disorders or diseases of organs inside the abdomen, including the liver, gall bladder, bile ducts, and pancreas. The day before the test, you may be asked to follow a special diet. You will not be allowed to eat or drink anything on the day of the exam. When you arrive for the exam, you will put on a hospital gown. In an exam room, you will lie on a table. A gel will be spread on your belly. The transducer will be moved across your belly. The gel helps the sound waves pass through your belly. You will be asked to stay very still. When the test is complete, the technologist or doctor will make sure he or she has all the information needed. Sometimes, more images are needed. After the test, you may return to your normal diet unless your doctor tells you differently.

Testicular Ultrasound? 

A testicular ultrasound (sonogram) is a test that uses reflected sound waves to show a picture of the testicles and scrotum . The test can show the long, tightly coiled tube that lies behind each testicle and collects sperm (epididymis). And it can show the tube (vas deferens) that connects the testicles to the prostate gland. The ultrasound does not use X-rays or other types of radiation. A small handheld device called a transducer is passed back and forth over the scrotum. The device sends the sound waves to the computer, which turns them into a picture. This picture is shown on a video screen. The picture produced by ultrasound is called a sonogram, echogram, or scan. Pictures or videos of the ultrasound images may be saved.

What is Carotid Ultrasound Imaging?

Ultrasound is safe and painless, and produces pictures of the inside of the body using sound waves. Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves the use of a small transducer (probe) and ultrasound gel placed directly on the skin. High-frequency sound waves are transmitted from the probe through the gel into the body. The transducer collects the sounds that bounce back and a computer then uses those sound waves to create an image. Ultrasound examinations do not use ionizing radiation (as used in x-rays), thus there is no radiation exposure to the patient. Because 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 a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. An ultrasound of the body’s two carotid arteries, which are located on each side of the neck and carry blood from the heart to the brain, provides detailed pictures of these blood vessels and information about the blood flowing through them. A Doppler ultrasound study is usually an integral part of a carotid ultrasound examination. Doppler ultrasound is a special ultrasound technique that allows the physician to see and evaluate blood flow through arteries and veins in the abdomen, arms, legs, neck and/or brain (in infants and children) or within various body organs such as the liver or kidneys.

What are some common uses of the procedure?

The carotid ultrasound is most frequently performed to detect narrowing, or stenosis, of the carotid artery, a condition that substantially increases the risk of stroke. The major goal of carotid ultrasound is to screen patients for blockage or narrowing of their carotid arteries, which if present may increase their risk of having a stroke. If a significant narrowing is detected, a comprehensive treatment may be initiated. It may also be performed if a patient has high blood pressure or a carotid bruit an abnormal sound in the neck that is heard with the stethoscope. In some cases, it is also performed in preparation for coronary artery bypass surgery.

Other risk factors calling for a carotid ultrasound are:

  • diabetes
  • elevated blood cholesterol
  • a family history of stroke or heart disease

What are the key statistics about thyroid cancer?

The American Cancer Society’s estimates for thyroid cancer in the United States for 2015 are:

  • About 62,450 new cases of thyroid cancer (47,230 in women, and 15,220 in men)
  • About 1,950 deaths from thyroid cancer (1,080 women and 870 men) Thyroid cancer is commonly diagnosed at a younger age than most other adult cancers.
  • Nearly 2 out of 3 cases are found in people younger than 55 years of age.
  • About 2% of thyroid cancers occur in children and teens.

The chance of being diagnosed with thyroid cancer has risen in recent years and it’s the most rapidly increasing cancer in the US. Most of this is the result of the increased use of thyroid ultrasound, which can detect small thyroid nodules that might not otherwise have been found in the past. Still, at least part of the increase is from finding more large tumors as well. The death rate from thyroid cancer has been fairly stable for many years, and remains very low compared with most other cancers. Statistics on survival rates for thyroid cancer are discussed in the section “Thyroid cancer survival by type and stage.”

 

Thyroid Ultrasound

What Is a Thyroid Ultrasound?

An ultrasound is a painless procedure. It uses sound waves to make images of the inside of your body. A thyroid ultrasound is used to examine the thyroid for abnormalities such as:

  • Cysts
  • Nodules
  • Tumors

How Can a Thyroid Ultrasound Help with Diagnosis?

An ultrasound can give your doctor a lot of valuable information. It can show:

  • if a growth is fluid filled or solid
  • The number of growths
  • where the growths are located
  • whether a growth has distinct boundaries
  • blood flow to the growth

Ultrasounds can also detect goiter. Goiter is a swelling of the thyroid gland.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *