What is an Ultrasound?
Ultrasound imaging, or sonography, is the imaging test most often used in pregnancy, as it is a safe and non-invasive test that relies on sound-waves instead of radiation to produce moving images from inside the body. However, ultrasounds have diagnostic purposes beyond the monitoring of a fetus. The test can be used to further investigate causes of swelling and infection, to guide biopsies and to diagnose heart conditions.
At Medstar Radiology Network, we often utilize ultrasound technology to look for tumors in the organs and surrounding soft tissues where x-rays may not produce the best images.
Ultrasound images are projected in real time on a display screen the doctor or ultrasound technician is able to monitor throughout your procedure. This is a non-invasive procedure, though it may be used to guide additional procedures and biopsy collection. Most ultrasounds take no more than 20 to 30 minutes to complete.
Preparing for an Ultrasound
Ultrasound technology can be used internally or externally, and in some cases an ultrasound wand may be slowly guided into a patient’s esophagus, rectum, or vagina. This internal imaging can be mildly to moderately uncomfortable for patients, but your doctor will walk you through what to expect if an internal ultrasound is necessary.
Limited preparation may be required for your ultrasound, depending on what part of a patient’s body is being monitored or the reason for exam. Your doctor will provide instructions based on what your ultrasound requires.