Ultrasound imaging, also known as ultrasound scanning or diagnostic medical sonography, is a useful, extremely safe, and usually painless way of examining many of the body’s internal organs. It views structures and organs while they are moving such as blood flowing through vessels or a baby in a womb. Ultrasound produces 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. Gel is placed between the transducer and your body to make sure all the sound waves coming out of the transducer can be directly sent into your body.
There are special preparations for some ultrasound tests. For example, it’s important not to eat or drink anything before some tests so that food and drinks don’t hide or obscure the structures. Other tests may require a full bladder. Your physician will help you understand the preparations needed for your specific type of ultrasound test.
Your doctor might order one test and then another. Dual studies often happen in radiology. For example, your doctor might order a CT scan, which is then interpreted by a radiologist. The radiologist might then suggest an ultrasound because ultrasound is very good at deciphering between solid and cystic (fluid-filled) matters. Some other examples would be breast ultrasound and mammography and gallbladder ultrasound with nuclear medicine.
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.
Ultrasounds are available at Metro Health Hospital 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Metro Health Allendale, Cedar Springs, Community Clinic, Comstock Park, Lowell and Southwest also have ultrasound available during their business hours.