Ultrasound Scans and Their Many Uses

When you think of an ultrasound, you may associate it with pregnancy. While obstetric sonography, or the use of ultrasound for testing during pregnancy, is a common form of ultrasound, there are many different uses of this diagnostic testing method. Here are some of the common ways ultrasound may be used at your hospital or facility for urgent care in Downey.

What Is Ultrasound?

Ultrasound scans can also be called diagnostic sonography, ultrasonography, or sonogram. Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of organs, tissues, or blood flow. How the images are created is through the echo that bounces off of the tissue being viewed. By setting the device to certain frequencies and strengths, the ultrasound can bounce the waves off of certain thicknesses of tissues. As the echo comes back, the device reads the echo and converts it to electrical impulses, which are used to form an image on a computer monitor. Ultrasound scans have been used for more than 50 years, and are not associated with any risks when performed by a trained, qualified individual. Unlike x-rays and other diagnostic methods, ultrasounds do not emit radiation.

Uses of Ultrasound

When used for pregnancy, the physician can employ ultrasound to look for such factors as size, number, location, gender, and age of the fetus, as well as for certain physical abnormalities, movement, breathing, heartbeat, location of the placenta, and more. But an ultrasound can also be used to view organs like the heart, eyes, liver, and pancreas, as well as tendons, muscles, and joints. Blood vessels and blood flow can also be viewed and monitored when Doppler ultrasound is used. At higher frequencies, ultrasound can spur the inflammatory response and heat tissue. These characteristics may possibly assist in speeding up healing of bone fractures or tissues in sprains or pulled muscles. The real-time nature of ultrasound allows it to be used as guidance imaging for certain procedures, such as biopsies of masses in certain organs and tissues. In some cases, ultrasound may be used to break up kidney stones or gallstones. A trained physician at a facility for urgent care in Downey or other health care centers will be able to determine if you or a loved one will benefit from an ultrasound scan.