Ultrasound imaging, also known as ultrasound scanning or sonography, is a method of obtaining images from inside the human body through the use of high frequency sound waves. The soundwaves' echoes are recorded and displayed as a real-time, visual image.
During an ultrasound, the technologist uses a transducer to send the sound waves, which then bounce off the organs in the body and back to the transducer. These are then converted by a computer to produce the image. Ultrasounds are used to evaluate organs while they are functioning and can also assess blood flow. A special transducer called a Doppler probe is used to evaluate blood flow.
Ultrasound exams are non-invasive and can be performed on many different organs. They are also used during pregnancy to measure fetal growth. Fetal ultrasounds are done at CAMC's Perinatal Center, located at CAMC Women and Children's Hospital.
Common types of ultrasound exams are listed below. Click on each one to learn more about the procedure, including exam preparation.
- Abdominal ultrasound - Can be used to diagnose issues with organs in the abdominal area, such as gallstones, liver disease or kidney stones.
- Pelvic ultrasound – (Also known as transabdominal, transvaginal or gynecologic ultrasound) is done to examine the organs within the female pelvis – uterus, ovaries, vagina, and cervix. Pelvic ultrasounds are used to find issues such as abnormalities, fibroids and cysts and can also be used for monitoring for fertility treatments.
- Fetal ultrasounds (also known as OB ultrasounds) may be done transabdominally or transvaginally and are used during pregnancy to measure fetal growth.
- Vascular studies – Vascular ultrasound studies are used to check blood flow in arteries and veins. A study called a carotid artery duplex scan may be performed if blockage or narrowing of the arteries in the neck is suspected.
- Breast ultrasound – A breast ultrasound may be done to evaluate if something found during a mammogram is a
fluid-filled cyst or a solid tumor. It can also identify abnormalities in women whose breast tissue is too dense to be examined accurately by mammography.