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What is an ultrasound?
Ultrasound, also known as sonography, is a diagnostic imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures within your body. The aim of it is to find the source of a disease or to exclude pathology.
Ultrasound enables your doctor to see details of your internal organs without making any incisions.
Why would I get an ultrasound?
Ultrasound can help your doctor to understand what is happening inside your body, such as the causes of unexplained pain.
It also may be recommended to evaluate many organs like the following:
- Blood vessels
- Thyroid gland
- Guide a needle for biopsy
What happens during an ultrasound?
You will be asked to remove certain pieces of clothes. During the procedure, you will lie on your side or back on a table. Then, a gel is applied to your skin over the area being examined.
Your doctor then moves a handheld instrument, called the transducer, over the gel. The transducer sends sound waves into your body, collects the ones that bounce back, and sends them to a computer, which creates the images. You may experience some pain or discomfort, especially if you're required to have a full bladder.
What to expect after an ultrasound
Ultrasound technology is considered to be a safe procedure, with no harmful side effects. After it is done, you can wipe off any remaining gel on your skin. The procedure usually takes 30 minutes to an hour and is usually painless. You can return to normal activities immediately after an ultrasound.
A radiologist will read the images taken. After radiologists review your ultrasound pictures, they send a report to your doctor. Your doctor discusses the results with you. You usually get results within days of your test.
Mayo Clinic: Abdominal ultrasound