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Ultrasound imaging -- also known as sonography -- is a common noninvasive procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images (sonograms) of the inside of the body, help physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.
Ultrasound uses a transducer, which sends high-frequency sound waves into the body and detects their echoes as they bounce off internal structures. The sound waves are then converted to electric impulses to form an image displayed on a computer monitor.
Doppler ultrasound shows blood flowing through a blood vessel or artery to evaluate blood flow velocity.
When Ultrasound Is Used
Ultrasound can be used to help diagnose many conditions, including:
- Heart and blood vessel disease
- Liver disease
- Conditions affecting the spleen
- Kidney problems
- Many female conditions and menstrual disorders
- Prostate problems
- Bladder conditions such as incontinence
- Eye conditions
- Conditions affecting the thyroid and parathyroid glands
Ultrasound Also Can be Used in Other Situations:
- Obstetricians use ultrasound at a very low power level to check the size, location, number and age of a fetus or fetuses; the presence of some types of birth defects; fetal movement and heartbeat; and the location and condition of the placenta
- Ultrasound can be used to guide procedures (such as needle biopsies) in which needles are used to extract sample cells examination or testing