Unlike x-rays and other forms of radiation imaging, ultrasound imaging (also called ultrasound scanning or sonography) produces images of the body through high frequency sound waves. Because it’s safe and non-invasive, it’s the preferred method for looking at the development of a fetus.
The recent advances in the quality of ultrasound imaging have made it a common practice in nearly all branches of medicine. The sonographer, who performs the ultrasound, works in conjunction with other physicians and experts at Ballad Health to analyze the ultrasound results and determine a diagnosis.
Advantages of Ultrasound
- Noninvasive (no needles or injections) and usually painless
- Less expensive than other imaging methods
- Provides a clear picture of soft tissues that do not show up well on x-ray images
- Ultrasound provides real-time imaging, which makes it a good tool for guiding needle biopsies and needle aspirations
Common Uses of Ultrasound
- Examine heart and blood vessels, including the abdominal aorta and its major branches
- Examine liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and bladder
- Examine uterus, ovaries and unborn child in pregnant patients
- Examine thyroid and parathyroid glands
- Guide procedures such as needle biopsies
- Image the breasts and guide biopsy of breast cysts or masses
- Diagnose a variety of heart conditions
- View blockages to blood flow (such as clots) and narrowing of vessels
- View tumors and congenital malformation
Common Types of Ultrasound
Endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) is the newest and most effective technology in diagnosing and staging cancers of the digestive tract. An EUS allows for faster procedures and results, providing patients with diagnostic answers and peace of mind.
Pelvic ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to form pictures of your organs. It can help assess pain or other symptoms within your pelvis, the area between your hip bones. In women who are not pregnant, it is typically done to check the uterus and ovaries. In pregnant women, it is used to check the health of the unborn baby.
Prenatal ultrasound is a common prenatal procedure used even in low-risk pregnancies to confirm your due date or evaluate your baby’s health. If there are any concerns that your baby may be at risk, ultrasound can help provide the information your Ballad Health physician needs to give you the best possible prenatal care.
Breast ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to look at the inside of your breasts. It can help your Ballad Health physician see how well blood is flowing to areas in your breasts and detect any abnormalities. This test is often used when a change has been seen on a mammogram or when a change is felt but does not show up on a mammogram.
Abdominal ultrasound is a procedure used to assess the organs and structures within the abdomen (belly). This includes the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, bile ducts, spleen, kidneys, and abdominal aorta. This ultrasound allows your Ballad Health physician to easily view the abdominal organs and structures from outside the body. Ultrasound may also be used to assess blood flow to abdominal organs.