What is an Ultrasound?
An ultrasound, also called a sonography, is a medical exam that uses high-frequency sound waves. Certain parts of the body are exposed to these waves in order to capture live images from inside the body. Ultrasounds allow your doctor to see problems with certain organs, vessels, and tissues non-invasively. With an ultrasound, the sound waves can travel through soft tissue and fluid. When they hit denser surfaces, the sound waves will bounce back. The denser the object, the more of the ultrasound bounces back. The bouncing back is what creates the image with varying shades of grey to reflect different densities. Also, because sound waves are used instead of radiation, ultrasounds are completely safe, making it the preferred method for viewing a developing fetus during pregnancy.
Why an ultrasound is performed
Ultrasounds are commonly performed for pregnancies, but they have many other uses. Ultrasounds can be used for either diagnosis or treatment, as well as for guidance for procedures that require intervention, such as biopsies. They can be used if you have pain, swelling or other symptoms that require an internal view of your organs. Ultrasounds can view the bladder, brain (in infants), eyes, gallbladder, kidneys, liver, ovaries, pancreas, spleen, thyroid, testicles, uterus, blood vessels, etc.