The scanner uses the same technology as the sonar used by ships in that sound waves are passed from a probe into the body and are reflected off the internal organs and back to a computer which turns these into an image.
Ultrasound is readily available with minimal waits and is very safe not exposing patients to any radiation so it can be used without worry in pregnancy.
Ultrasound is used for a wide variety of scans, including:
- Musculoskeletal ultrasound – particularly to look at soft tissue injury. The scan can be used to localise injections into trigger points.
- Breast ultrasound – ultrasound can be very useful in identifying the nature of any breast lumps.
- Testicular Screen
- Abdominal scans – ultrasound scanning is the best way to look for gallstones, but it is also valuable for looking at the liver, spleen, kidneys and other solid organs.
- Neck lumps – including thyroid
- Vascular system – ultrasound is very effective at identifying and monitoring aortic aneurysms and is a non-invasive way of determining the site of an arterial obstruction.
- Endoscopic Ultrasound
- Gynaecological Ultrasound
- Echocardiography – ultrasound can give a dynamic picture of how the heart is working and allows you cardiologist to measure the output of the heart and the effects of diseases.
- Ultrasound scans can be used to target biopsies or drain fluid collections.