Ultrasounds are diagnostic tests that use reflected sound waves to create detailed images of the inside of the body. The test is non-invasive (no instruments entering your body).
Diagnostic ultrasound for women is a great tool to examine female anatomy.
Ultrasound examinations are painless, fast and easy. After an ultrasound examination, you should be able to resume your normal activities immediately.
What kinds of ultrasound tests are available?
There are different tests that cover different aspects:
- Obstetric Ultrasound test
- Pelvic Ultrasound test
- Breast Ultrasound test
- Carotid Ultrasound test
- Thyroid Ultrasound test
- Abdominal Ultrasound test
Are ultrasound tests safe?
Physicians have used ultrasound to make images of the inside of the human body for nearly half a
To date, researchers have not identified any harmful biological effects caused by ultrasound, even while three million babies born each year have had ultrasound scans in utero (while in the womb).
What is an Obstetric Ultrasound test?
Obstetric ultrasound refers to the specialized use of sound waves to visualize and determine the condition of a pregnant woman and her embryo or fetus. Obstetric ultrasound should be performed only when clinically indicated. Some indications may be:
- To establish the presence of a living embryo/fetus
- To estimate the age of the pregnancy
- To diagnose congenital abnormalities
- To evaluate the position of the fetus
- To evaluate the position of the placenta
- To determine if there are multiple pregnancies
What is a Pelvic Ultrasound test?
A pelvic ultrasound evaluates the structures and organs in the lower abdominal area (pelvis). Pelvic ultrasound is most often used to examine the uterus and ovaries and can help determine the causes of pelvic pain and abnormal bleeding due to polyps, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids or cancer.
During pregnancy, to monitor the health and development of the embryo or fetus. Millions of expectant parents have seen the first “picture” of their unborn child thanks to pelvic ultrasound. However, monitoring of fetal development is not the only reason for a pelvic ultrasound exam.
A pelvic ultrasound exam can also help to identify stones, tumors and other disorders in the urinary bladder in women.
There are few methods of performing pelvic ultrasound in women:
- Abdominal (transabdominal)
- Vaginal (transvaginal or endovaginal)
For the abdominal ultrasound, the patient has a full urinary bladder and is positioned on an examination table. A clear gel is applied to the lower abdomen to help the transducer (probe) make secure contact with the skin. The ultrasound technician presses the transducer firmly against the skin and sweeps it back and forth to image the pelvic organs.
Vaginal ultrasound approach involves the insertion of the probe into the vagina after the patient empties her bladder and is performed very much like a gynecologic exam.
What is a Breast Ultrasound test?
A breast ultrasound is a test to make a picture of the tissues inside the breast.
Breast ultrasound is a procedure that may be used to determine whether a lump is a cyst (sac containing fluid) or a solid mass which could be cancer.
Ultrasound can also be used to precisely locate the position of a known tumor in order to guide the doctor during a biopsy or aspiration procedure.
What is a Carotid Ultrasound test?
Ultrasound of the carotid arterial system checks for narrowing of the carotid arteries (stenosis). It provides a fast, noninvasive method to identify blockages of blood flow in the neck arteries to the brain that might produce a stroke. The stroke can lead to thinking, speech, personality and motor functions losses. This narrowing is usually caused by the buildup of fatty substances and cholesterol deposits, called plaque.
The patient is positioned on an examination table. A clear gel is applied to the area that will be examined. This test is fast and easy, and will take less than 30 minutes.
What are the risk factors for Carotid Artery Disease?
The risk factors for carotid artery disease are similar to those for other types of heart disease.
- Hypertension (high blood pressure) — the most important treatable risk factor for stroke
- Abnormal lipids or high cholesterol
- Diet high in saturated fats
- Family history of atherosclerosis, either coronary artery disease or carotid artery disease
What is an Ultrasound of the Thyroid?
An ultrasound of the thyroid produces pictures of the thyroid gland and the adjacent structures in your neck. The thyroid gland is located in front of the neck just above your collar bone and is shaped like a butterfly, with one lobe on either side of the neck connected by a narrow band of tissue. It is one of nine endocrine glands located throughout the body that makes and sends hormones into the bloodstream.
The thyroid gland makes thyroid hormone, which helps to regulate a variety of body functions such as how fast your heart beats. Usually, thyroid hormone problems start effecting women around their menopause. Many women confuse thyroidism symptoms with menopause symptoms. Hot flashes, insomnia, irritability, palpitations and “fuzzy thinking” are common symptoms of both. It is estimated that by age 50 one out of every ten to twelve women has some degree of low thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism). By age 60 it is one out of every five or six. It is very common for patchy areas or nodules to develop in your thyroid which may or may not be felt on the skin surface. About 5 to 10 percent of adults will have lumps in their thyroid that a doctor can feel on exam. These are called palpable nodules. Ultrasound is very sensitive and shows many nodules that cannot be felt by hand. The vast majority of these are benign regions of thyroid tissue that pose no health risk. The minorities are true tumors of the thyroid and may require further diagnosis or treatment.
What is an Abdominal Ultrasound?
Abdominal ultrasound is a useful way of examining internal organs, including the stomach, liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, and bladder. This can help to diagnose a variety of conditions and help a physician determine the source of pain and abdominal problems such as enlargement of an abdominal organ, stones in the gall bladder or kidneys, or an inflamed appendix.