What is an ultrasound scan and why is it used?

Ultrasound, also called sonography, uses high-frequency sound waves to create video images of soft tissue areas of the body. While most commonly associated with pregnancy, doctors also use ultrasound imaging to examine internal organs, including the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, thyroid and reproductive systems, and to guide procedures such as needle biopsies.

StoneSprings Hospital Center offers various types of ultrasound imaging, including endoscopic, echocardiogram, obstetric and vascular.

How you benefit from having an ultrasound scan performed

Ultrasound tests are noninvasive, painless, cost effective and pose no health risks. Because ultrasound images are captured in real time, they can show the movement of a fetus as well as complex bodily functions such as blood flow and heart valve operation.

What to expect during your ultrasound

If you are having an ultrasound test, follow the instructions provided by your physician prior to your appointment.

A registered sonographer follows these steps during the scan, which usually takes less than 30 minutes:

  • Spreads a special gel on the part of the body being examined
  • Presses the transducer against the skin to obtain the image, which the patient can view the images on a screen positioned just for their view
  • A radiologist analyzes the images and report the results to your doctor

Learn more about ultrasound imaging at RadiologyInfo.org.