An ultrasound is a noninvasive, simple procedure that can produce images of soft tissues, which often don’t show up well on X-rays. There is no ionizing radiation used during an ultrasound and there are no serious side effects of the procedure.
The Ultrasound Procedure
During an ultrasound procedure, the patient lies down on an examination table and gel is applied to the skin at the area to be imaged. The technician then moves a transducer, a special handheld instrument, across this area. The transducer enables sound waves to be transmitted back and forth between the body and the device. The transducer then relays this information to a computer.
Limitations Of An Ultrasound
While ultrasound is a valuable diagnostic procedure, there are limitations to the information it can provide. Since sound does not travel well through bone or through air, ultrasound is not appropriate for imaging parts of the body containing gas or tissues obscured by bone. In such cases, other imaging tests, such as X-rays or computed tomography, known as CT scans, are needed.