An ultrasound scan test is the one which involves use of high-frequency sound waves for capturing live images from inner side of the body.
It is also termed as Sonography. Without making an incision, doctors can vie organs, tissues and vessels of the patients with the help of ultrasound scan test. The advantage of an ultrasound scan test over other imaging tests is that there are no radiations involved. Hence, this is the preferred scan test for monitoring growth of fetus in pregnant women. Most of the times, ultrasound scan provides the first view of unborn child to an expectant mother. This is why many people associate ultrasound scan test with pregnancy. However, ultrasound scan test is used for many other purposes. In most of the cases, an ultrasound examination is carried out with a sonar device outside the body of the patients whereas in some cases this scan test involves placement of a device inside the body of the patients.
An ultrasound scan test is recommended by the doctor when patients report excessive and unusual pain, swelling or any other signs which need internal view of the organs for better diagnosis. Quality view of following body parts can be seen with the help of ultrasound scan test.
Brain (in infants)
During medical procedures such as biopsies, an ultrasound scan test is very helpful for guiding surgeons.
Types of ultrasound scan
Different types of ultrasound scans are carried out based on the body part under examination and the reason behind it. Three main types of ultrasound scans are given below.
Internal ultrasound scan – In this type of scan, a probe is inserted into the body part under examination.
External ultrasound scan – Here, a probe is moved over the skin of the patients during scan process.
Endoscopic ultrasound scan – A thin, long and flexible tube called endoscope is used for this kind of ultrasound scan test and is passed inside the body for testing.
Preparation for an ultrasound scan test –
In general there are no special requirements before an ultrasound scan. In some cases, eating and drinking restrictions need to be followed by the patients. Usually patients are not allowed to eat or drink anything prior to 6 hours of scanning process. For patients need to scan their womb are required to come for scanning with a full bladder. This is required since pushing of the womb is carried out by the full bladder so that it goes into a position suitable for ultrasound scan test.
Prior to an ultrasound scan, patients will be provided with a hospital gown. After that they will be lying down on the table. The area of the body under examination will be exposed for an ultrasound test. A special kind of lubricating jelly is applied on the skin of the patients by a sonographer. A sonographer is a technician carrying out an ultrasound test. This jelly helps in preventing friction which is required for running the ultrasound transducer on the skin of the patients. An ultrasound transducer is similar to that of a microphone. For transmitting the sound waves, lubricating jelly can be used.
Sound waves of high-frequency are sent from the transducer in the body of the patients. There can be echo of these waves when they hit a object which is dense in nature, such as bone or body organ of the patients. These echoes are reflected back and can be observed in the computer. Interpretation of sound waves in the form of picture can be done by the doctors. For better access, the patient needs to change positions based on the area under examination. After completion of the scan test, lubricating gel will be cleared from th skin of the patients. Approximately 30 minutes are required for this scan to complete depending on the area under testing. Once the scan test is done, patients are free to continue their normal activities. In case of ultrasound scan tests which are performed inside the body of the patients, insertion of a probe into a natural body opening is carried donut. This probe is connected with the transducer. Given below are the examples of such examinations.
In this type of ultrasound scan, insertion of a transducer in a rectum of male patient is carried our for getting better view of his prostate.
Insertion of a transducer in esophagus of the patient is carried out with sedatives for getting images of the heart if the patients.
In this ultrasound scan test, insertion of a transducer is carried out in the vagina of the woman for getting inner views of uterus and ovaries.
Risks associated with ultrasound scan test
In general, an ultrasound scan test is a safe diagnostic process which uses sound waves of low power. Even though valuable, an ultrasound tool has some limitations. For body parts with gas inside or located behind bones can not be examined in well manner by using an ultrasound scan test since, sound does not travel via air or bones. For getting better views of these area, other imaging tests are required.
Usually, an ultrasound scan is a painless procedure. Still somewhat discomfort can be experienced by the patients especially in cases where full bladder is required during the test.
Scanning is a very important part of diagnosis process for any disease and an ultrasound scan test has its own importance. It is a basic diagnostic scan test and has been in medical field since long. For detection of exact cause behind any unusual symptoms, doctors need to get a better view of organs. For this, ultrasound scan test is recommended. Patients need to follow instructions given by the doctor prior to the test. This helps in preventing complications.