We all have a fair idea about what an ultrasound is. It is a test done using high-frequency sound waves that create images of the internal portion of the body. This test has been commonly used for checking any health updates at the time of pregnancy. Ultrasound tests, or sonography, unlike other tests are considered to be a much safer option because it merely uses the sound waves that echoes on the area of diagnosis thereby resulting in no radiation-like effects. These scans are done in the Ultrasound Clinicto evaluate fetal development. Alternatively, they can also be recommended by the physicians to for checking other internal organ's ailments such as liver, heart, kidney, or abdomen. An ultrasound test is equally adept at performing certain types of biopsy.
The image produced by the Ultrasound Test is known as sonogram.
Quick facts on ultrasound scans
Given below are some of the key things to remember about ultrasound.
· Due to the high safety standards, Ultrasound scans are widely recommended.
· Its most common use is seen for checking the progress of a pregnancy.
· It is used to enhance the diagnosis of the treatment.
· No special preparation is normally necessary before an ultrasound scan.
Ultrasound scans are carried out by a sonographer.
The person who performs an ultrasound scan is called a sonographer, but the images are interpreted by radiologists, cardiologists, or other specialists.
At the time of the sonography, the sonographer uses a device known as transducer, a hand-held device, which is placed on the patient's skin. The ultrasound waves then travel through the soft tissues of the body. It does not get absorbed but it rather bounces back or echoes off to the denser surfaces thereby obtaining an image in the process.
It is named as ultrasound as the sound is produced in a frequency which is not audible to the normal human ears.
The frequency of ultrasound in all the ultrasound in delhi is between 2 and 18 megahertz (MHz).
It has been observed that the higher frequency of an ultrasound enables better quality images and is readily absorbed by the skin and other internal tissue. Hence they cannot penetrate as deeply as lower frequencies. Yet its use is deemed fit because the lower frequencies fail to penetrate deep into the tissues.
How Does it Capture an Image?
The ultrasound waves travel through blood. For instance if the waves hit the heart valve, it would bounce back.
Similarly, if the ultrasound test is for gallbladder and there are gallstones present in the organ then the waves would bounce back from them and create an image.
This bouncing back, or echo, gives the ultrasound image its features. Varying shades of gray reflect different densities.
What Does a Transducer Look Like?
A transducer is more like a wand in appearance and is placed on the body which is to be checked for. Some of the tranducer are used for internal use for clearer and informative images as well. These are:
· an endovaginal transducer, for use in the vagina
· an endorectal transducer. This is used for getting images of the rectum
· a transesophageal transducer. It is passed down the patient's throat to examine the esophagus.
The Ultrasound Lab also has small transducers that can be positioned onto the end of a catheter and inserted into blood vessels to examine the walls of blood vessels.
They are used for diagnosis, for treatment and also for guidance during the procedures of biopsies. Due to its high penetration power, it can be also used for internal organs such as the liver and kidneys, the pancreas, the thyroid gland, the testes and the ovaries, and others.
Other critical problems that can be brought into notice are:
· Lump of a tumor. This could be cancerous, or a fluid-filled cyst.
· An ultrasound can successfully diagnose the problems related to soft tissues, muscles, blood vessels, tendons, and joints.
· The test is also effective in looking into certain conditions such as a frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome and others.
Doppler ultrasound, a form of ultrasound done in the lab assesses the follow of blood in a vessel and blood pressure. The speed of the blood flow or any kind of obstruction can also be determined in an ultrasound test.
An echocardiogram (ECG) is an example of Doppler ultrasound. It is brought into effect in order to create images of the cardiovascular system and to measure blood flow and cardiac tissue movement at specific points.
A Doppler ultrasound can also give us the required assessment with regard to the functioning and state of cardiac valve areas, any abnormalities in the heart, valvular regurgitation, or blood leaking from valves, and it can show how well the heart pumps out blood.
It can also be used to:
· examine the walls of blood vessels
· check for DVT or an aneurysm
· check fetal heart and heartbeat
· evaluate for plaque buildup and clots
· assess for blockages or narrowing of arteries
Ultrasound has various forms. One such form is carotid ultra-sonography that may include a Doppler ultrasound. This would reveal how blood cells move through the carotid arteries.
Ultrasound in anesthesiology
Ultrasound has been a test of choice for the anesthetists to guide a needle with anesthetic solutions near nerves.
Ultrasound in emergency medicine
Some other common uses of ultrasound test in various conditions include:
· traumatic injuries
· pericardial tamponade
· fluid buildup around the heart
· hemoperitoneum, or blood leakage in the abdomen
For abdominal gastroenterology, the method of ultrasound is used by the gastroenterologist to get the images of the spleen, kidneys, bile ducts, gall bladder, liver, aorta, inferior vena cava, pancreas, and other solid organs located in the abdomen.
The evaluation for suspected gallstones or inflammation of the gall bladder, known as cholecystitis is also done by the help of ultrasound.
It can detect if the appendix is swollen or inflamed, which would suggest appendicitis. Blood work would confirm an infection.
But in cases there is an accumulation of fat in the body or gas formation in the bowel; it may block the ultrasound waves at times thereby causing difficulties in diagnosis.
The Ultrasound test can be performed by a sonographer by placing the probe on the i.e. the soft spot on the top of the skull.
This helps in detecting any sort of abnormalities such as
· periventricular leukomalacia, a form of white-matter brain injury.
With the fontanelle growing smaller in time, it leads to the production of bad quality images.
Ultrasound devices release high-frequency sound waves from the transducer which helps in getting the images of the internal part of the body in conditions like pregnancy.
Ultrasound is part of standard prenatal care. They collect the images of the fetus or embryo in the uterus.
Obstetric ultrasonography can reveal various aspects of both fetal and maternal health. It can also help doctors assess the progress of the pregnancy.
The device known as transducer is typically placed on the mother's abdomen. But some special conditions require the device to be placed in the vagina.
A transvaginal scan provides the most detailed pictures of early pregnancy and it is considered to be a better option if the mother has obesity.
Doppler sonography shows the fetal heartbeat. It equally comes in handy as a test that finds out the signs of abnormalities in the heart and blood vessels.
Ultrasound and urology
· In urology, ultrasound can check:
· how much urine remains in the bladder after urinating
· the exact conditions of the critical organ's health like those of the pelvic region, including the uterus and testicles
In young, adult males, ultrasound can distinguish different types of swelling from testicular cancer.
Pelvic sonographies can be internal or external.
In cases of the male, the internal sonogram is done by inserting the device into the rectum. The same device is inserted into vagina of the female.
This can provide information about the prostate gland, ovaries, or uterus.
The ultrasound in delhi done for the pelvic floor to assist the doctors in correct diagnosis and to ascertain the extent of conditions like a pelvic prolapse, incontinence or obstructed defecation.
Ultrasound can be further used for the examinations of the ligaments, bone surfaces, soft tissue masses, nerves, muscles, and tendons.
What to Expect
An ultrasound is done at the Ultrasound clinic under the guidance of a specialist and a doctor. Usually these scans do not take more than 20 to 60 seconds. It is a painless scan and creates no noise.
· By and large there is no special preparation needed. In most cases, no special preparation is needed, but patients may feel the necessity to wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothing.
· If a person is suffering liver or gallbladder condition, the patient may have to fast for several hours before the procedure.
· In early stage pregnancy scan situations, the patient is required to drink plenty of water and try to avoid urinating for some time prior to the test.
· The scan produces better images of the uterus when the bladder is full.
· The scan usually takes place in the radiology department of a hospital. A doctor or a specially-trained sonographer will carry out the test.
The sonographer puts a lubricating gel onto the patient's skin and places a transducer over the lubricated skin.
· The transducer is then moved on the part of the body needing examination. The common examples are those of a patient's heart or a fetus in the uterus.
· The patient is unlikely to feel any discomfort or pain. They would merely feel the transducer moving over the skin.
· During pregnancy, a slight discomfort is caused because of the full bladder.
If there is a need for an evaluation of an internal organ for a possible abnormality or pain, the transducer would be placed in the rectum for a man and in the vagina for a woman. The parts of the digestive system, for instance the esophagus, the chest lymph nodes, or the stomach, an endoscope may be used.
· For obtaining the images of the internal organs, the ultrasound device is attached to the end of the endoscope along with a light and inserted into the patient's body through the mouth.
· For any case in which the patient is suffering from pain, the doctors may provide medication to release the pain.
· Internal ultrasound scans are less comfortable than external ones with a slight risk of internal bleeding.
As it has been clear thus far, most of the ultrasound is noninvasive involving no ionizing radiation exposure. The procedure is believed to be very safe. However, since the long-term risks are not established, unnecessary "keepsake" scans during pregnancy are not encouraged. Ultrasound during pregnancy is recommended only it has been called for medically.
Since the test uses a coat of latex on the body part requiring ultrasound. Therefore the person who is allergic to latex should notify the doctors about the same.
Cost of the Ultrasound Scan
Ultrasound is no more a single dimensional scan. With the availability of latest technology, it is now very easy to generate multidimensional images. Currently we can get 3d ultrasoundas well as 4D ultrasoundin the reputed labs in India. The 3d ultrasound cost in delhi as well as 4D ultrasound cost in delhi starts from INR 840, this includes the scan report of any one region. However if there is a necessity of going for a 3d or 4d ultrasound with level II then the ultrasound cost would beINR 8000.
To choose for the best diagnostic labs for these tests, it is important to get in touch with the best labs which are also NABL accredited. Besides planning your important diagnostic and pathological test, you can also plan your surgery with the help of such health portals.