What is ultrasound?
Ultrasound, also known as sonography, is a method of obtaining images of internal organs by sending high- frequency sound waves into the body. The echoes of the reflected sound waves are recorded and displayed as real-time visual images.
Ultrasound scanners consist of a console with a computer, a video display screen and a transducer that is used to scan the body. The transducer is a small, hand-held device that is attached to the scanner by a long cord. The technologist spreads a lubricating gel on the area of the body being scanned and then presses the transducer against the skin to obtain images. As sound waves echo from the body's fluids and tissues, a sensitive microphone in the transducer captures and records tiny changes in the sound wave's pitch and direction.
These waves are measured by the computer and are created into real-time images on the monitor. The technologist watches the screen and captures and stores the various images.
Ultrasound is often used for examining the heart, liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, thyroid and many other internal organs. Typically, expectant parents have seen their first picture of their unborn child with pelvic ultrasound examinations of the uterus and fetus. Ultrasound is also now being used to image the breast and to guide biopsy of the breast to look for cancer.
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