You’ve probably heard of diagnostic ultrasounds for determining the health of a baby during prenatal care, but did you know that ultrasounds can be helpful for a lot more? At Cheyenne Radiology, we perform ultrasounds for a range of diagnostic reasons. In this article, we’ll walk you through what an ultrasound is and a few times when your doctor may recommend one for you.
First, what is an ultrasound scan?
An ultrasound is an extremely safe process that uses radio waves to create visual images called sonograms, and are often used to view muscles, tendons, and many internal organs.
Most ultrasound scans require the patient to lie face-up on an examination table. A clear water-based gel is applied to the area of the body being studied to help a device called a transducer make secure contact with the body. As the transducer is swept firmly against the skin in various locations, images are sent to a computer monitor, where they can be evaluated immediately.
Here are some reasons your doctor may recommend an ultrasound:
To identify gallstones
An abdominal ultrasound is generally the best choice for confirming a gallstone, a hard particle that can cause problems in your gallbladder, or evaluating other possible issues in your gallbladder, like cancer or blocked bile ducts.
To detect a clot or blockage in a blood vessel
Since ultrasounds create images in real-time, they can be used to effectively monitor blood flow through your vessels and identify clots, blockages or other abnormalities.
To investigate tissue for signs of breast cancer
As we mentioned in our article about women’s imaging technology [please link to 10/12 article Mammograms/Ultrasounds/MRI], ultrasounds may be helpful as a complementary technology to regular mammograms in order to fully investigate a suspicious area for breast cancer.
To check a lump on your thyroid
While thyroid lumps—also called nodules—are fairly common occurrences that are generally non-cancerous, they should still be evaluated by a medical professional. A quick and painless ultrasound is usually the scan of choice for a thyroid abnormality.
These are just some of the times when a doctor may recommend an ultrasound—there are countless other situations when an ultrasound is the right choice.
If you have questions about the ultrasound process or whether it would be helpful for your health concern, please speak with your doctor and ask for a referral to Cheyenne Radiology.