Although ultrasound exams are common today, many people still don’t know what they are and if they’re safe. At Transmed, we are regularly asked about the safety of ultrasounds and other questions. As proudly self-pronounced ultrasound experts, we decided to answer some common questions we think patients need answered.
What is ultrasound?
An ultrasound exam, also called a sonogram, is a diagnostic imaging procedure used to visualize internal organs, vessels, glands, or a developing fetus. Ultrasounds use high-frequency sound waves that reflect off of structures in the body to form images. They’re considered routine examinations, and healthcare providers regularly schedule patients to undergo an ultrasound exam to help assess symptoms and develop a diagnosis.
Is ultrasound safe?
It is not uncommon for patients to associate ultrasound with other examinations that allow healthcare providers to look inside the body, such as x-rays and CAT (CT) scans. X-rays and CT scans both use radiation, and a CT scan uses a significant amount of radiation, but ultrasound examinations are very different. Ultrasound imaging is generally considered safe, since it uses no radiation. Ultrasound energy has the potential to produce biological effects on the body, however, no long-term effects have been proven to date. Ultrasound imaging is generally considered safe when used prudently by trained sonographers.
- Ultrasound energy has the potential to produce biological effects on the body, however, medical diagnostic ultrasound exams have maintained an excellent safety record.
- Ultrasound does not use ionizing radiation, which makes it particularly useful when CT or other imaging methods would otherwise result in exposure to radiation, especially for women of child-bearing age.
- Ultrasound is the most widely used medical imaging modality for viewing the fetus during pregnancy. Routine examinations are performed to assess and monitor the health status of the fetus and mother.
- Ultrasounds are generally painless.
Where does ultrasound come from?
Ultrasound technology is rooted in the discovery of piezoelectricity in 1877 by French physicist Pierre Curie. Scientists have long desired to see inside the human body. This became possible with Curie’s discovery. Ultrasound paved the way for other inventions and progressions in science. This led to the first use of ultrasound technology for medical purposes in the 1940’s. Since then, sonography has further developed and been used for a variety of medical applications.
What is ultrasound used for?
Ultrasound is used for a number of medical purposes. It is an effective medical tool which assists your healthcare provider in evaluating, diagnosing, and treating certain medical conditions, illnesses, and/or diseases, or to evaluate and monitor the unborn baby (fetus). At Transmed, our team of highly qualified registered sonographers offer a variety of ultrasound specialties. Depending on your diagnostic needs, our team is trained to perform ultrasound exams such as abdomen, OB/GYN, echocardiogram, pediatrics, infant spine, infant brain, vascular, and small body parts. Ultrasound may also be used to assist with certain needle biopsies, screenings for stroke prevention (ages 40 and up), and screenings for sudden cardiac death prevention (ages 11-34).
Ultrasound is the most widely used medical imaging method for viewing a fetus during pregnancy, and is also considered safe for pediatric patients. Ultrasound is a wonderful tool frequently used to assess and monitor the health status of the fetus and mother, and also for examining the body and developing diagnoses.
What are the benefits of ultrasound?
Since ultrasound does not use radiation like x-rays or CT scans, it is a much safer and more comfortable option for diagnostic and preventative care. Ultrasound is significantly cheaper than CT scans and MRI’s. Since the price of healthcare has seen an increase, and many people are struggling to afford the care they need, ultrasound technology is a beneficial option for people who need more cost-effective diagnostic and preventative testing.
- It is used in diagnostic care to examine the anatomy of the human body. It is an important medical tool that healthcare providers prescribe for their patients to help assess symptoms and develop a diagnosis.
- Ultrasound has proven to be an affordable and reliable way of examining the body’s internal organs, such as:
- ECHOCARDIOGRAM (also known as Heart or cardiac ultrasound)
- Adult Heart (echocardiogram)
- Young Heart (Pediatric) echocardiogram
- Uterus and ovaries
- Unborn baby (fetus)
- PEDIATRICS (Children)
- Infant spine
- Infant brain
- Echocardiogram (heart)
- SMALL BODY PARTS:
- Scrotal (testicles)
- Soft tissue (for lumps, cysts and foreign bodies)
- ULTRASOUND GUIDED NEEDLE BIOPSIES/PROCEDURES
- Abdominal aorta
- Carotid arteries
- Extremity veins for blood clots (DVT)
- Extremity arteries for blockage
- VASCULAR SCREENINGS – For ages 40 and up
- AAA (abdominal aortic aneurysm)
- PAD (peripheral arterial disease)
- Irregular heart beat (EKG or ECG)
- CARDIAC (HEART) SCREENINGS – For ages 11-34
- Cardiovascular defects
- Sudden cardiac death
- Electrical conduction issues (EKG or ECG)
- VASCULAR SCREENINGS – For ages 40 and up
Although ultrasound exams are common today, many people still don’t know what they are and if they’re safe. As ultrasound experts, we’re here to tell you that sonography is safe and effective for a variety of medical purposes. Since its discovery by Pierre Curie in 1877, ultrasound has been developed to be used in diagnostic and preventative care. Ultrasound is a wonderful tool that aids healthcare providers in developing cost-effective diagnoses.