Diagnostic or Screening Uses
- Obstetrics and gynecology:
Pregnancy ultrasound (or fetal ultrasound) is
used to assess the progression of the fetus. Vaginal ultrasound, pelvic
ultrasound, or transvaginal ultrasound is used to diagnose growths or tumors of
the ovary, uterus, and Fallopian tubes. It can be used to assess non-pregnancy
related issues as well:
- Cardiology: Echocardiography (heart ultrasound) is a common way to evaluate
the overall function of the heart. It is used to evaluate the flow of blood
through the chambers and valves of the heart. It also assesses the strength of
the heart beat and the volume of blood pumped through. Echocardiography is often
used for the following:
- Blood vessels: Ultrasound is useful in detecting problems with most of the
larger blood vessels in the body. Using Doppler ultrasound technology, the flow
of blood through the vessels can be observed and measured. Narrowing of vessels
(stenosis) or widening of vessels (dilatation, also referred to as aneurysms)
can be detected. Ultrasound testing of blood vessels includes:
- Abdominal structures: Abdominal ultrasound is used to evaluate the solid
organs within the abdominal cavity, including the liver, gallbladder, pancreas,
kidneys, and bladder.
- Renal ultrasound is used to evaluate the function and structure of the
kidneys. Swelling around the kidney with blockage in the urinary tract can be
seen with ultrasound, making abdominal ultrasound useful in detecting kidney
- Liver ultrasound is used to find abnormalities in the liver tissue and
- Gallbladder ultrasound can screen for gallstones or an infected
- Appendix ultrasound is used in children or
pregnant women, where it is
necessary to avoid radiation from a
CT scan (computerized tomography).
- Testicular ultrasound: Used to diagnose
and testicular masses.
- Neck ultrasound: The thyroid and parathyroid glands can be imaged to detect
nodules, growths, and tumors.
- Breast ultrasound: Used to image the breasts and to guide biopsy of breast
masses to evaluate for breast cancer.
- Knee ultrasound: Ultrasound can be used to evaluate the structures in the
back of the knee to determine if a Baker's Cyst is present.
- Eye ultrasound: An eye ultrasound is used to look at the back of the eye
(retina). It is often used when a patient has
cataracts that make looking into
the eye difficult. The test may help diagnose retinal detachment. It can also
assist in cataract surgery.
- Skin ultrasound: Ultrasound can be used to help find certain types of
foreign bodies that may become lodged in the skin.
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