You must have thought all your life that an ultrasound is used only to examine pregnant women and their unborn babies. However, the fact is that it’s just one of the several diagnostic applications the ultrasound technology has.
Doctors often ask patients to undergo an ultrasound test to detect tumors when X-rays fail to capture clear images of the affected body part. Use of the technology is common even during a biopsy. Doctors use ultrasound to guide invasive instruments to the right location for collecting a small portion of tissue or fluid during biopsies. People visit Boise Ultrasound Imaging Center for several other purposes. Read on to know more about ultrasound and its applications.
Discussion on Health Disorders an Ultrasound Can Detect
Pregnancy, which is not a health disorder but a natural state of health, is not the only condition detected or monitored by ultrasound. Your doctor may ask you to get an ultrasound test done if they suspect that you might be suffering from one or more of the following digestive disorders.
- Spleen enlargement
- Fatty liver disease
- Abnormal growths or tumors in the pancreas or liver
- Liver cancer
Indeed, an ultrasound image is never as detailed and clean as images captured by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) scan. However, when doctors need to capture clean images of soft-tissue ailments that X-rays cannot spot, they often recommend the usage of ultrasound. One advantage of using this technology is that it captures relatively clean images without causing any level of radiation exposure.
At times, the process of ultrasound involves the use of a transducer or a handheld baton. The person carrying out the test presses the transducer against the patient’s skin and moves it around to allow the sound waves to reach the organs. For some patients, the test procedure may involve the insertion of the transducer through a natural opening of the patient’s body for obtaining images of the highest quality.
The intensity and shape of the ultrasound echo vary depending on the thickness and density of the tissue it is examining. For instance, if there’s a tumor, the ultrasound waves would bounce off it and create a sequence of echoes, which the doctor will be able to see on the computer screen.
How Is Ultrasound Different from Doppler?
Doppler tests are often used for detecting tumors and cancer, you may be wondering how that test is different from ultrasound tests. Unlike an ultrasound, which is used for spotting abnormal growths, Doppler tests are used to find the direction in which blood is flowing in the patient’s blood vessels. As blood flows differently inside tumors compared to how it flows in normal tissues, Doppler tests help in detecting the presence of tumors. Doctors also often use Doppler tests to determine whether cancer has reached a metastatic stage.
You must now be wondering whether the process is safe or not. The imaging tests done using ultrasound waves are completely safe. The procedure is 100% noninvasive and painless. As it doesn’t involve the use of radiation, patients are unlikely to suffer from any short-term or long-term complications.