Ultrasound scanning today is one of the most popular and safe methods of diagnosing patient health. With this simple method, the presence of various diseases of all body systems, ranging from digestive and ending with reproductive, is checked. Scanning has no side effects and does not cause pain, which is a significant advantage. The results help physicians to assess the state of human health and provide effective treatment, if necessary.
What is an ultrasound scanner
An ultrasound scanner is an apparatus based on the action of ultrasound. This scan uses high frequency sound waves to create images inside the body. It is allowed even during pregnancy.
Ultrasound scanning or sonography is a completely safe procedure, sound or echo signals are used to recreate the picture (while replacing traditional radiation). An ultrasound scanner is used to evaluate fetal development; it can detect problems in the liver, heart, kidneys, or abdomen. The device helps in carrying out certain types of biopsy. The resulting image is called a sonogram.
A person who performs ultrasound scans in medicine is called a sonograph, but he does not interpret the images themselves - radiologists, cardiologists, or other specialists do this. The doctor usually holds the transducer (hand-held device) like a wand that moves along the patient's skin.
Ultrasound is the sound that passes through soft tissues and fluids and bounces back from denser surfaces. Thus he creates a special image. This term applies to a sound that arrives with a frequency that people do not perceive. For diagnostic purposes, the ultrasound scanner signal typically ranges from 2 to 18 megahertz (MHz).
Higher frequencies work more efficiently - they provide better quality of the resulting image, but they are absorbed by the skin and organs, therefore they cannot provide in-depth research, unlike lower frequencies, which guarantee in-depth analysis with worse image quality.
Here are some key points regarding ultrasound scanning:
- this scan is safe and widely used in medical practice;
- allowed to check pregnancy;
- used for the diagnosis and prevention of treatment;
- before the procedure, the patient does not need to be prepared.
Where ultrasound scanner is used
Ultrasound images made from reflected sound. After they are examined, the patient may be diagnosed. Ultrasound is commonly used to diagnose, treat, and guide during procedures such as a biopsy. It is prescribed to study the internal organs (liver and kidney), pancreas and thyroid, ovaries and others. Ultrasound scans can reveal the type of tumor (malignant or benign) - it can be a cancerous tumor or a cyst filled with fluid.
Gastroenterologists use an ultrasound scanner to obtain such images: spleen; the kidneys; bile duct and bladder; the liver; aorta; inferior vena cava; pancreas; other solid organs in the stomach. It can evaluate patients with suspected gallstones or inflammation of the bladder, known as cholecystitis. Working with blood can confirm the infection. Ultrasound is often used by anesthetists to direct the needle with anesthetics near the nerves.
This device is needed in emergency medicine to assess various conditions, including severe injuries, pericardial tamponade, growth of fluid around the heart or examination of bleeding in the abdomen.
The device helps diagnose problems associated with soft tissues, muscles, blood vessels, tendons and joints. Doppler ultrasound can assess the blood flow in the vessel or blood pressure, as well as determine its speed and any obstacles. Echocardiography (ECG) is an example of Doppler ultrasound, which is used to create images of the cardiovascular system and to measure blood flow and tissue movement at specific points.
This scanner is used in the field of urology. He checks the volume of urine in the bladder after going to the toilet and the health of the organs in the pelvic region, including the uterus and testicles. In young men, ultrasound shows different types of tumors.
Pelvic sonography can be internal or external. In the male, an internal sonogram is conducted through the rectum, and in a woman through the vagina.
It can provide information about the prostate gland, ovaries or uterus. A pelvic ultrasound helps the doctor determine a degree, such as pelvic prolapse, urinary incontinence, or difficult bowel movement.
Ultrasound assesses the function and condition of the heart valve areas, any abnormalities in the heart, blood flowing from the valves. It shows how well the heart pumps blood. Carotid duplex is a form of ultrasound scanner of the carotid artery, based on Doppler ultrasound (this shows how blood cells move through the carotid arteries).
It can also be used for:
- blood vessel wall studies;
- aneurysm checks;
- checking the heart of the fetus and its heartbeat;
- assessments of plaque buildup and clots;
- assessing the presence of blockage or narrowing of the arteries.
The scanner makes an image as follows: ultrasound passes through the blood in the heart chamber, if it enters the heart valve, it immediately beats off or is echoed. The scanner is sent through the gallbladder, if there are no gallstones, in other situations there will be a failure. The denser the barrier on which ultrasound falls, the more it bounces off of this object. Rebound back or echo creates an ultrasound image. Different colors reflect different densities (mostly gray shades).
How is the inspection using the device
The device has no side effects, so it does not affect the health of patients. Both children and adults can be diagnosed with the device. In addition, examination of the fetus, which is in the womb of a woman, is not excluded.
The doctor can perform an ultrasound scan of the newborn by placing a probe on a spring - a soft spot on the top of the skull. It can check if there are abnormalities in the brain, hydrocephalus and periventricular leukomalacia. As the fontanel becomes smaller, the image quality deteriorates markedly.
Ultrasonic devices emit high-frequency sound from their wand and can be used to scan a person’s body inside, for example, while carrying a child. Ultrasound is part of the standard antenatal care. It can show the image of the fetus still in the uterus. An obstetric scan provides an assessment of the baby’s condition and the health of the mother, and also allows physicians to determine if the pregnancy is safe.
The probe or sensor is usually placed on the mother’s belly (sometimes in the vagina). A transvaginal scan can provide a clearer image in the early stages of pregnancy; this is the best option if the mother has obesity. Doppler sonography determines the fetal heart rate. This helps the doctor to detect the presence / absence of abnormalities in the heart and blood vessels.
The transducer, or wand, is located on the surface of the patient’s body, but some species are inserted inside. They can provide clearer, more informative images. For example, an ovary is tested, which is examined internally (through the vagina) or superficially (through the stomach). Examples of such equipment are:
- endovaginal transducer for vaginal use;
- endorectal transducer for use in the rectum;
- transesophageal transducer for use in the esophagus.
Some very small instruments may be placed at the end of the catheter and inserted into the blood vessels to inspect the walls.
Ultrasound can be done in the doctor's office, in the clinic, or in the hospital. Most scans take from 20 to 60 minutes. Often the procedure is painless and silent.
In most cases, no special training is required, but patients can optionally wear clothing that is loose and comfortable for them to fully ensure a comfortable check.
Scanning takes place in the radiology department of the hospital. Testing will be conducted by a doctor or specially trained sonograph. The doctor applies a special gel to lubricate the patient's skin and places the sensor on the treated area. The transducer moves along the part of the body that needs to be checked.
The patient should not feel pain. During pregnancy a slight discomfort may be felt due to the full bladder. If it is necessary to evaluate the internal reproductive organs or the urinary system, the sensor is inserted into the rectum in men or in the vagina in women.
When the liver or gall bladder is affected, the patient is forbidden to eat several hours before the procedure. To scan during pregnancy (especially early), the patient should drink plenty of water and try to avoid urination for some time before the test. When the bubble is filled, the procedure creates a better image of the uterus.
An endoscope can be used to assess the condition of the digestive system, such as the esophagus, chest lymph nodes or stomach.
The flashlight and ultrasound device are attached to the end of the endoscope, which is inserted into the patient's body, usually through the mouth. Before the procedure, patients receive medications to reduce pain. Internal ultrasound examinations are less convenient than external examinations; there is a small risk of internal bleeding.