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Ultrasound

Ultrasound Overview

Ultrasound (also termed sonography, ultrasonography, and Doppler study) is a non-invasive diagnostic medical technique that uses high frequency sound waves to produce images (sonogram) of the internal structures of the body. These sound waves are not detectable by human hearing.

Using an ultrasound machine (ultrasonography), a technician or doctor moves a device called a transducer (probe) over part of your body. The transducer emits sound waves which bounce off the internal tissues, and creates images from the waves that bounce back. Different densities of tissues, fluid, and air inside the body produce different images that can be interpreted by a physician, typically a radiologist (a physician who specializes in imaging technologies). Many studies are done by a trained technologist (sonographer) and then interpreted by a radiologist.

A two-dimensional (2D) is the most common type of ultrasound exam. These 3D and 4D ultrasounds are possible due to the advances in computerized analysis of sound waves at different angles. Three dimensional images are compiled from the sound waves coming back at different angles and the images are easier to understand and show more details. The difference between a 3D and 4D ultrasound is that the 4D is like a video showing motion of a 3 dimensional object.

Ultrasound Uses

Ultrasound can be used as a diagnostic or screening tool to confirm medical disorders or to assist in performing medical procedures. It is also used as a therapeutic tool in treating musculoskeletal problems, renal stones (kidney stones), and gallstones.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/11/2016

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Ultrasound:

Ultrasound - Patient Experience

For what condition did you receive an ultrasound? Please describe your experience.

Transvaginal Ultrasound

Transvaginal ultrasound is a test that uses reflected sound waves to produce a picture of the reproductive organs and other structures inside the pelvis. It does not use X-rays or other types of radiation.

For a transvaginal ultrasound, an ultrasound wand (transducer) is placed in the vagina. The transducer emits high-pitched sound waves (above the range of human hearing) that bounce off the uterus and ovaries and are picked up again by the transducer. A computer analyzes the sound waves and converts them into a picture that is displayed on a video monitor. The picture produced by ultrasound is called a sonogram, echogram, or scan.





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