About This Imaging Test
Sometimes called sonography, ultrasound imaging uses sound waves to create pictures of organs, veins and arteries, or an unborn baby. During an ultrasound procedure, a microphone-like instrument called a transducer is scanned over the skin where it sends sound waves into the body. The sound waves bounce off of tissue and reflect back to the transducer, where they are recorded and displayed as real-time images.
Sonograms are commonly used during pregnancy to monitor the growth and development of a baby. They are also used to evaluate the body’s circulatory system by helping to monitor blood flow to organs and tissues throughout the body. This can help physicians locate abnormalities in various organs, narrowed arteries, clotted veins, or growths such as tumors or cysts.
How the Test is Performed
An ultrasound machine makes images so that organs inside the body can be examined. The machine sends out high-frequency sound waves, which reflect off body structures. A computer receives the waves and uses them to create a picture. Unlike with an x-ray or CT scan, this test does not use ionizing radiation.
How to Prepare for the Test
Your preparation will depend on the part of the body being examined.
How the Test will Feel
Most of the time, ultrasound procedures do not cause discomfort. The conducting gel may feel a little cold and wet.
Why the Test is Performed
The reason for the test will depend on your symptoms.
Results are considered normal if the organs and structures being examined look ok.
What Abnormal Results Mean
The meaning of abnormal results will depend on the part of the body being examined and the problem found. Talk to your health care provider about your questions and concerns.
There are no known risks. The test does not use ionizing radiation.