What Is an Ultrasound and Why Might I Need One

Ultrasound

Many of us throughout our lifetime may have to have an ultrasound and, although it is most commonly associated with pregnant women, this is not the only use of ultrasound imaging. Ultrasound can be used as a diagnostic tool for a range of reasons, and are much safer than x-rays or CT scans that produce radiation.

How Ultrasound Works

Ultrasound works by using sound waves to develop images on the screen of what is going on beneath the skin. A transducer (the part they put against the skin) emits a high-frequency noise that humans are unable to hear, and this produces the images seen on the screen as sound waves bounce back. An ultrasound technician, also called a sonographer, will carry out this test. A sonographer is somebody who has had specialist training in order to use the equipment and understand the process in each separate case. If this sounds like a career you would be interested in, visit bestultrasoundtechnicianschools.co.

Pregnancy

This is the most obvious use for an ultrasound and many of us know this from real life experience or have seen an ultrasound machine used on a pregnant woman on a movie or tv show. In fact, the popular hit TV show Friends even named an episode after it: “The One With The Sonogram At The End”. An ultrasound can have many uses in determining how many months pregnant a woman is, what the due date is, how many babies she is expecting and can be used to determine the sex. They can also be used as screening tools to see what position the baby is in before birth, and can spot any birth defects or placenta issues. Whilst pregnant you may have many ultrasounds to check the growing rate of the fetus.

Diagnostic Tests

An ultrasound can be used to diagnose many injuries or conditions affecting the soft tissues of the body and most major organs. You may have an ultrasound if you have a suspected injury or condition in the heart, liver, bladder, eyes, ovaries, testicles and many others. An ultrasound may be used for example, on a patient whom has not emptied their bladder in a significant period of time, to see how much urine is being stored in the bladder, as this can determine the need for a catheter, as holding urine in the body for too long can cause it to burst. Ultrasounds can also be a very important tool in detecting prostate cancer early and spotting tumors in the ovaries and breasts. Early detection is key in detecting cancers as this significantly heightens the chance of survival.

Ultrasound imaging is a very important tool used by healthcare facilities for a variety of different reasons. It is a relatively short procedure and shows real-time images on screen. Ultrasound technology is forever advancing, such as 3-D ultrasound imaging which allows you to see your baby in 3-D, making the pregnancy process even more special for parents.

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