Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to create still or video images of the inside of the body. There is no ionizing radiation used, so it is safe for pregnant women and children. Pictures are obtained by placing gel on the skin and moving an ultrasound transducer over the area of interest. The exam is usually painless.
Abdominal ultrasound evaluates the gallbladder, liver, spleen, pancreas, and spleen. Size and shape of the organs are usually easily recognized. Abnormalities, such as gallstones or kidney cysts, can be identified using ultrasound.
Pelvic ultrasound. In women, detailed images are obtained of the uterus and ovaries. This study usually includes an endovaginal exam, which is performed using a specially shaped transducer covered by a sterile sheath that the patient is asked to place into her vagina. In men, pelvic ultrasound can be utilized to image the prostate gland. The overall size and shape of the gland can be estimated. Prostate nodules can be imaged using an endorectal approach.
Thyroid ultrasound assesses the size of the thyroid gland. Thyroid lesions and/or nodules can be characterized for their make-up and location.
Vascular ultrasound is used to assess arteries and veins. Pulsed Doppler and color flow Doppler are used in addition to standard ultrasound imaging. Veins (usually leg veins) can be evaluated for thrombosis (blood clot) and arteries can be scanned to determine if there is any narrowing of the vessel due to atherosclerosis, usually in the carotid arteries of the neck. Vascular ultrasound can also be used to evaluate the abdominal blood vessels.
Breast ultrasound is performed to evaluate a palpable lump or an abnormality visualized on mammography or MRI. The distinction can be made between fluid-filled cysts, lymph nodes and solid masses. This information helps the radiologist and the patient's clinician determine the appropriate course of treatment for the patient.
Musculoskeletal ultrasound is a targeted exam to evaluate individual tendons for small tears that cannot be seen on MRI
Fetal or obstetrical ultrasound is most often used to evaluate the size and age of a fetus as well as assess the growth during pregnancy. It can also be used to screen for certain abnormalities fetal anatomy.
Preparation: Pelvic Ultrasound drink 4 (8 oz.) glasses of any liquid one hour before your appointment. Be sure to eat. Do not empty your bladder.
Abdominal (Gallbladder, Liver, Pancreas, RUQ, Spleen) DO NOT eat or drink after midnight before your exam.
Breast, Thyroid, Musculoskeletal, and Vascular, no preparation necessary