Sometimes called sonography, ultrasound imaging uses sound waves to create pictures of organs, veins, arteries or a growing baby. During an ultrasound procedure, a microphone-like instrument called a transducer is scanned over the skin and sends sound waves into the body. The sound waves bounce off of tissue and reflect back to the transducer, where they are recorded and displayed as real-time images.
Sonograms are commonly used during pregnancy to monitor the growth and development of a baby. They are also used to evaluate the body’s circulatory system by helping to monitor blood flow to organs and tissues throughout the body. This can help doctors locate abnormalities, narrowed arteries, clotted veins or growths, such as tumors or cysts.
An ultrasound can be used for multiple types of imaging. Having an ultrasound is easy, painless and uses no ionizing radiation. During the exam, you’ll be asked to lie on a table while a clear gel is applied to the area being examined. This gel improves contact between the transducer and your skin. The sonographer will move the transducer back and forth over your skin to capture the images. Most procedures are completed in 30 minutes to an hour.
Ultrasounds are available at the following Scripps Health locations in San Diego County. Prenatal ultrasounds may be available at your obstetrician’s office. Call your physician for more details.