What is Ultrasound Imaging?
Ultrasound imaging – also called sonography or sonogram – is a painless and noninvasive method of obtaining diagnostic images from inside the human body through the use of high frequency sound waves. One of the safest methods of testing – no radiation (X-ray) is involved in ultrasound imaging. Most ultrasound examinations are done using a sonar device outside of your body, though some ultrasound examinations involve placing a device inside your body. Despite its valuable uses, ultrasound cannot provide images of all areas of your body. This type of imaging is used to evaluate the following:
- Pregnancy (fetus)
- Pelvis (uterus and ovaries)
- Breast biopsy, cyst aspiration and hookwire guidance
- Scrotum (testicles)
- Abdomen (gallbladder, liver, pancreas, kidneys and spleen)
- Carotid artery
- DVT (deep vein of the extremities)
- Prostate and prostate biopsy
What is Color Doppler Ultrasound?
Color Doppler Ultrasound – a noninvasive exam – is used to evaluate blood flow and pressure by bouncing high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) off red blood cells. A Doppler ultrasound can estimate how fast blood flows by measuring the rate of change in its pitch (frequency). This imaging test may be done as an alternative to more invasive procedures such as arteriography and venography, which involve injecting dye into the blood vessel to enhance X-ray images.
What are some of the common uses of Color Doppler ultrasound?
- To evaluate blockages to blood flow (blood clots, arterial occlusion)
- To evaluate incompetent valves in your leg veins, which cause fluid to accumulate (venous insufficiency)
- To view narrowing of vessels (possibly caused by plaque)
How should I prepare for an Ultrasound?
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing
- Depending on the type of ultrasound exam you have, you will be asked:
- Not to eat or drink for up to six (6) hours before your appointment, or
- Drink up to four (4) eight ounce glasses of water 1 1/2 hours prior to your exam and avoid urinating. This will ensure a full bladder when the exam begins.
What should I expect during an Ultrasound?
Ultrasound exams usually take less than 30 minutes. A sonographer will position you on the exam table; a clear gel is applied in the area being examined. This helps the transducer make contact with the skin. The sonographer firmly presses the transducer against the skin and moves it back and forth to image the area of interest. Most ultrasound exams are painless. The gel applied to your skin may be a bit cold and there may be varying degrees of discomfort and pressure as the technologist guides the transducer over your abdomen, especially if you are required to have a full bladder.
The sonographer is able to review the ultrasound images in real time and electronically stores the images considered to be the most diagnostically useful. When the examination is complete the gel is wiped off. After you dress, you may be asked to wait while ultrasound images are reviewed by our on-site radiologist.
All RAH sonographers have extensive training and experience, and are certified by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS). All ARDMS sonographers are required to pursue continuing medical education to stay on the cutting edge of ultrasound technology and patient care.
Who interprets the results and how do I get them?
After your ultrasound exam is completed, we will be happy to answer any questions you have regarding follow-up care with your physician and getting the results of your scan. The ultrasound exam is interpreted by one of our board-certified radiologists and a report of the findings is sent to your doctor.
Please contact Radiology Associates of Hartford, P.C., to schedule your next Ultrasound or to learn more. We serve patients in Glastonbury, Enfield, Avon and surrounding areas in Connecticut.
For more information on this topic, please visit www.Radiologyinfo.org.