Ultrasound (also called sonography) is a diagnostic medical procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce dynamic visual images of organs, tissues or blood flow inside the body. The high-frequency sound waves are transmitted to the area of interest and the returning echoes recorded. This type of procedure is often referred to as a sonogram or ultrasound scan.
What Happens in an Ultrasound Exam?
The sonographer applies an odorless, colorless gel to the skin above the body structure(s) to be studied. This gel helps conduct sound waves from the ultrasound transducer down to the tissues that are the focus of the study. The sonographer applies the transducer to the skin and short pulses of ultrasound waves are emitted and received.
As the transducer is moved around, an image of the various organs under study appears on a monitor. The sonographer then electronically stores what he or she considers to be the most diagnostically useful images. Selected images are used by an interpreting physician to make a final diagnosis.