Ultrasound is a kind of a sound wave that travels through surfaces. In medicine, ultrasound is used as a diagnostic tool in viewing the internal organs of the body. When ultrasound is used for diagnosis, it is sometimes referred to as a diagnostic ultrasound or sonography when you need more than just a general Tampa chiropractor visit.
Diagnostic ultrasound is a painless and safe method in looking into the internal organs and other soft tissues in the body. It uses high frequency sound waves that travel through the soft tissues and generate an image for the doctor or the ultrasonographer to see. Most common areas to be checked that can be viewed through an ultrasound is the abdomen and pelvis, but other areas can also be checked.
Uses of Diagnostic Ultrasound
Diagnostic ultrasound is used in various parts of the body with different purposes. The following are the common conditions that can be detected by a sonogram:
Ultrasound is a breakthrough for pregnant women because it enables the doctor and the expectant parents to assess the condition of the baby inside the womb. It allows for early identification of problems in the fetus as well as in the placenta. It helps determine the expected date of delivery and also identifies the gender of the baby. Ultrasound during pregnancy can either be transabdominal (probe placed over the abdomen) or transvaginal (probe is inserted into the vagina going just below the cervix).
- Urologic conditions
Kidney, ureter and bladder stones can also be detected through ultrasound. Scrotal and prostatic conditions are also easily identifiable through this diagnostic procedure.
- Vascular problems
More advanced ultrasound equipment can also be used to check the blood flow in the vascular system and determine any blockages, aneurysms, and other abnormalities.
- Cardiac abnormalities
Changes in the heart valves and other structures in the heart can also be detected using diagnostic ultrasound specifically termed as echocardiography.
- Other abdominal problems
Problems in the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, ovaries, testes, and other abdominal organs are also detected using ultrasound.
What Happens during a Diagnostic Ultrasound?
A diagnostic ultrasound is practically a fast procedure that can last from 15 minutes to an hour depending on the significant abnormalities seen. It is a painless procedure and you won’t feel any significant discomfort. At first, the person is asked to lie on the back and on other positions depending on the specific site to be viewed (you may need to lie on your side to assess the kidneys). A lubricating gel is then placed on the ultrasound probe to make it glide easier on the skin and help the sound waves to pass through better. In some instances, the gel may be placed directly on the surface of the skin being examined. The gel may feel cold, but would not create further discomfort. After the organ is identified and examined, the lubricating gel is wiped off and the procedure is done.
Preparations before the Test
For ultrasound of the kidneys, ureters and bladder, you may be asked not to empty your bladder or not to urinate before the procedure for better visualization. You may also be given a laxative for abdominal ultrasound to prevent the bowel content from obstructing or interfering with the view. For all other areas such as a thyroid scan or ultrasound of the heart, no other preparations are needed.
Complications of Diagnostic Ultrasound
An ultrasound is fairly safe and there have been no reported complications or adverse events that have resulted from the procedure.