What is Ultrasound Scanning

Ultrasound scans are used for taking the images of the internal organs using sound waves. A machine sends sound waves to the body which are then reflected back to a scanner that is used to measure them. Ultrasound scanners consist of a video display screen, a transducer that is used to scan the body. The images are visible on a screen which are scanned through the transducer. These are usually non-invasive. The ultrasound scans are used to monitor the abdominal parts of the body like liver, kidney, uterus etc. It is usually used to examine a pregnant woman to know the condition of the baby or to know the position of the uterus and ovaries. Before this exam, you might need to undress and you will be given a gown to wear. You will have to go with an empty stomach or as instructed by the doctor. Drink plenty of water before the examination so that you will have your bladder full. There are two types of ultrasound scanning- abdominal ultrasound and transvaginal ultrasound.

In Abdominal ultrasound, the patient will be asked to lie on their back on the examination table. Gel is applied on transducer and then the transducer is placed on the area where you have problem. The doctor will sweep the transducer here and there to examine the area of concern and to get the images of interest. To get clear and accurate results, this ultrasound is performed with full gall bladder. It also helps in viewing the baby in a better way.

In transvaginal ultrasound, a small probe in inserted into the vagina up to the cervix to get the better picture of the uterus. It is usually done on pregnant women or on the women who have some kind of problem with their reproductive system’s parts. It is performed with an empty or partially filled gall bladder.

Ultrasound scan does not hurt at all and it is completely safe. However, the gel used can feel a little cold and you might feel a little pressure when the examiner is pressing the transducer on the abdominal area. It takes around 20-30 minutes to perform an ultrasound scan depending on the type of scan. This is done by an experienced sonographer and reports are usually generated within 15-20 minutes of the exam. Unlike X-ray and CT scan, ultrasound does not use radiation. It is completely safe and till date it has not caused any kind of adverse effects.

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