Ultrasound is an imaging modality that does not use ionizing radiation. Instead it uses very high frequency sound waves. The sound waves are produced with a transducer which transmits them into the patients body. The sound waves are then reflected back to the transducer when they "echo" off of different tissues in the body. The more dense a body tissue is the more sound waves are reflected back and creates a bright area on the image. The less dense organs do not reflect back as many of the sound waves and result in a black or gray area on the image. The sound waves that are reflected back are received by the transducer and an image is reconstructed on a computer screen for the technologist to see. Air is an enemy of ultrasound because it does not transmit the sound waves efficiently so surgical lubricating jelly is used to fill the space between the transducer and the patients skin. This gives the sound waves a medium to travel through so that they are efficiently transmitted to the body and evenly dispersed across the surface of the transducer.
Our facility has two ultrasound machines; one in the radiology department for general ultrasounds and one in the OB department for doctor use. Ultrasound exams are scheduled exams and generally last about 30 minutes. Some exams require that you fast and/or drink lots of fluids.
Exams that are routinely done at our facility include:
Abdominal ultrasound (Renal, gall bladder, aorta)
3D Fetal ultrasound
DVT (deep vein thrombosis of arms & legs)
Ultrasound guided biopsies