Ultrasound imaging, also known as ultrasound scanning or diagnostic medical sonography, is a method of producing pictures by sending high frequency sound waves into the body and waiting for the sound waves to return back to the ultrasound machine. This is done with a specialized computer and an instrument called a transducer. We use a gel between the transducer and the body to make sure all the sound waves coming out of the transducer can be directly sent into the body.
Medical imaging is often similar to a slide show where the pictures are a static snapshot of the structure at that time. Ultrasound views structures and organs while they are moving, more like a movie. This can include images like blood flowing through vessels or a baby moving in the womb.
Ultrasound imaging is usually a painless medical test. There are special preparations for some ultrasound tests. For example, it is important that the patient doesn’t eat or drink anything before some tests so food and drinks don’t hide or obscure the structures. Other tests may require a full bladder. It is important to understand the preparations for the individual tests to ensure the best quality study.
Often your doctor will order one test and then another. For example, your doctor might order a CT scan, which is interpreted by another doctor (radiologist) who specializes in understanding and interpreting what is seen in your body. The radiologist might suggest an ultrasound to follow because ultrasound is very good at deciphering between solid and cystic (fluid filled) matters. Dual studies happen often in radiology. Some other examples would be breast ultrasound and mammography and gallbladder ultrasound with nuclear medicine.
Ultrasound is a useful and extremely safe way of examining many of the body’s internal organs. Metro Health Hospital continually updates its equipment and software to remain on the cutting edge of technology. Sonographers, also known as ultrasound technologists, must meet strict guidelines and be registered with the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers. Like all other registered medical professionals, sonographers must also complete continuing education to maintain their yearly membership in the registry.
At Metro Health Hospital: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Ultrasound is also available Monday – Thursday, 7:00 a.m. – 7:30 pm. and Friday 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at Metro Health Allendale, Cedar Springs, Community Clinic, Comstock Park, Lowell and Southwest.