Whilst we commonly associate an ultrasound scan with pregnancy, an ultrasound’s main purpose is to have an internal look at your organs. Here are a few reasons on why you might need an ultrasound and an explanation of the entire process that takes place.
What Is an Ultrasound?
Understanding what an ultrasound is can help you gain knowledge and feel prepared should you be about to have one. An ultrasound scan (also known as sonography) is a medical test to determine what is happening inside your body. The scan uses high-frequency sound waves that translate into live images, so your doctor can identify and analyze any problems or abnormalities. A good point about an ultrasound is no incisions have to be made, as the imagery can clearly detect and show your organs and tissues. There are ultrasound technician schools in MA should you be interested in pursuing a career in this profession.
The Reasons Why
If you are experiencing any pain or swelling, your doctor may recommend that you have an ultrasound scan. When conducting the scan, your doctor will be able to get a better look at a range of organs and body parts such as your bladder, kidneys, liver, ovaries, and thyroid. An ultrasound scan can also help your doctor decide on their next plan of action and whether any further medical procedures need to be carried out, such as a biopsy.
Before your ultrasound scan, it is important that you follow and act on your doctor’s instructions to ensure your scan goes as smoothly as possible. This will include not being able to eat for 8-12 hours beforehand (particularly if the scan is on your abdomen). For other parts of your body, you may be allowed to eat the night before your scan, but you’ll have to fast afterward until the procedure is done. In some instances, you may be required to drink a lot of water, so your doctor is able to examine your bladder. It is important to let your doctor know if you are taking any prescribed drugs or medications.
At the beginning of your ultrasound scan, the technician will rub lubricating jelly on your skin. This is done to prevent any friction that could occur. Also, the jelly can help transmit sound waves. An ultrasound transducer is used on your skin, which will examine what is going on internally, with sound waves translating into a picture that can be seen by the doctor. The entire process usually lasts around 30 minutes. You can then leave the hospital and resume normal activity.
After Your Scan
Once your scan is completed, your doctor will then be able to thoroughly analyze their findings and to check whether there are any abnormalities. You will receive a call from your doctor to either discuss what they have found or to give you a follow-up appointment. If abnormalities are found, you may have to undergo further diagnostic procedures, such as a CT scan.
If you need more information on how an ultrasound scan works, speak to your doctor or the ultrasound technician.