What's Involved in an Ultrasound Exam?

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If you've been worried about your health recently and feel that you may have some internal problems, you may have asked a doctor for advice. Following the consultation, they may have advised that you get an ultrasound examination so they can gather more information in order to make a prognosis. But what exactly is an ultrasound, and what should you expect?

Ultrasound Examinations

An ultrasound is a painless and non-invasive medical test that gathers images of the inside of your body using transmitted sound waves. The imaging device is connected to a special computer program that is able to analyse signals and create imagery on a screen.

What to Expect

You will attend a clinic on an outpatient basis and will be asked to lie on an examination table, either flat or on your side. Sometimes, the table can be tilted to make it easier for the technologist to perform the test.

Next, they will apply a general solution to the part of your body under examination. This helps them to make more solid contact with the surface of your skin, thereby eliminating any potential air pockets that might get in the way. When the test begins, the technologist will move the probe back and forth slowly but surely to gather information. The transducer will transmit sound waves into your body which will bounce off various organs and return to the device. These high-frequency sound waves can help the computer program gather very accurate information based on small changes to the pitch or direction of each sound wave.

Other Variations

Sometimes, you may be asked to undergo a Doppler ultrasound examination. This is a variation in the technique but designed to measure the speed and direction of blood cells as they transmit through your vessels. Again, the computer will process this data and create images, graphs or pictures to represent how blood flows through the vessels.

Wrapping up the Test

It may take some time for them to complete their work as they move the probe slowly backwards and forwards. While they will apply a small amount of pressure to the skin, the test will not hurt at all. When complete, they will be able to remove most of the gel from your skin, and you will be able to get dressed once again.

Getting Results

Sometimes, the technologist will analyse the results there and then, but often, they will transmit the information to your originating doctor. Together, they will be able to look at the information produced by the computer program and will be able to pinpoint any potential problems.

More Questions

As you can see, the test is relatively straightforward and non-invasive. Should you have any other questions before you attend the clinic, ask your health care provider for their advice.