Information for Patient requiring special examinations


Ultrasound is a technique that uses sound waves to study the body. In ultrasound scanning, high-frequency sound waves are transmitted to the area of interest and the returning (reflected) echoes recorded and displayed as a real-time visual image. Ultrasound is noninvasive, involves no radiation, and avoids the possible hazards—such as bleeding, infection, or reactions to chemicals—of other diagnostic methods. Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show movement of internal tissues and organs

Ultrasound has difficulty penetrating bone and therefore can only see the outer surface of bony structures and not what lies within. For visualization of bone, other type of imaging, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), may be selected.

Ultrasound waves also do not pass through air. Organs containing air or gas may not be well visualized with ultrasound. Thus, evaluation of the stomach, small intestine and large intestine may not be possible. Intestinal gas may also prevent visualization of deeper structures such as the pancreas and aorta. Obese patients are also difficult to image—this is because sound waves weakened as they pass deeper into the body.

What is ultrasound used for?

Ultrasound can be used for diagnosis or therapy

Ultrasound imaging is used extensively for evaluating the eyes, pelvic and abdominal organs, heart, and blood vessels, and can help a physician determine the source of pain, swelling, or infection in many parts of the body.

In obstetrics it is used to study the age, sex, and level of development of the fetus and to determine the presence of birth defects or other potential problems. Ultrasound is used in cardiology to detect heart damage and in ophthalmology to detect retinal problems.

Because ultrasound provides real-time images, it can also be used to guide procedures such as needle biopsies, in which needles are used to sample cells from organs for laboratory testing. Ultrasound is also used to evaluate superficial structures, such as the thyroid gland and scrotum (testicles).

Doppler ultrasound is a special technique used to examine blood flow. Doppler images can help the physician to see and evaluate:

  • Blockages to blood flow (such as clots).
  • Dynamics of heart valves.
  • Congenital malformation.


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