(click on procedure name for more details):
* The ultrasound-guided liver biopsy video was produced by freehivinfo. The ultrasound-guided thyroid biopsy video was produced by SouthSound Radiology. Northwest Community Healthcare does not have affiliations with these organizations.
What is an ultrasound?
Ultrasound, or sonography, uses high frequency sound waves along with a computer to generate a picture of internal organs as they function. A hand-held transducer is placed over a body part, and a high frequency sound wave is emitted. The transducer then acts as a microphone to listen for the return signal. The difference in time between these two events is transformed into a moving image by a special computer. Doppler ultrasound works similar to the Doppler radar images you may have seen on television. It produces color images of blood flow through various vessels and organs, such as the heart (echocardiogram). During pregnancy, ultrasound is a key tool in checking a baby's health and development and is considered safe for mother and baby.
The most common body parts that can be evaluated by ultrasound are the abdomen, breasts, female pelvis, scrotum, thyroid and the vascular system. It is a useful tool in the diagnosis of such medical conditions as abdominal cancer, aortic aneurysm, gallstones, blood clots, and uterine and ovarian disease. Ultrasound is a common diagnostic procedure in which the patient will experience little or no discomfort. There are no known dangers or side effects related with ultrasound, because it does not require the use of radiation, special dyes or anesthesia.
How it is performed
The technologist will assist you onto the examination table. A gel-like substance is applied to the area of your body being imaged. The technologist uses a hand-held transducer (microphone-type device), moving it slowly across the body part being imaged. Sound waves pass harmlessly through the skin from the transducer. The sound waves bounce off certain organs and tissues in the body and create echoes. The echoes are analyzed by a computer, which creates a moving picture of these images on a television screen. You may be asked to hold your breath or change your body position in order to obtain the images that are needed.
How to prepare
You should wear loose fitting clothing. You might be asked to change into a gown prior to exam. Sometimes you might be asked to drink water prior to the study.