What is an Ultrasound?
The process is also known as sonography. The procedure of ultrasound scan is known for using radio waves of high frequency, which helps to capture live images of the internal sections of a human body. This advanced scanning procedure helps the medical experts have a clear vision of problems in any internal organ, tissue or vessel. Just like other scanning procedures, USG is also one of the most widely used medical technologies of all time.
The difference between ultrasound and many other similar kinds of scanning procedures is, no radiation is used in ultrasound. This can be considered as the major reason why it is the most preferred method of scanning in case of viewing developing fetus in pregnant women.
Why is it done?
As mentioned before, this is the most safe and effective procedure for pregnant women to diagnose any occurring internal issue. Generally, the medical experts may suggest you to go for an USG in case you are having pain or any other complexions at any internal body part. An ultrasound can help the medical experts get a clear view of,
- Blood vessels
As a matter of fact, ultrasound also has a big use in specific kinds of treatments like biopsy. The basic uses of Ultrasound test are,
- Diagnosis of gallbladder disease
- Evaluating the flow of blood
- Checking the functionalities of your thyroid gland
- Examining a breast lump
- Assessment of joint inflammation
- View the ovaries and uterus during pregnancy
- Detect prostate and genital issues
- Evaluate metabolic bone disease
Apart from all these, guiding a needle for biopsy is also one of the major purposes of performing an USG.
How is it done?
A certain kind of lubricating jelly, which is known for helping to transmit the sound waves, is applied on the skin of the patient initially before starting the USG process to avoid friction so that the ultrasound transducer can be applied on your skin. However, you may have to keep changing positions as per the instructions of the medical experts. Once everything is set to go, the transducer starts to send high frequency sound waves through your body, which waves an echo when hitting a dense object like bone. After that, the echoes are reflected back into a specific type of computer and creates images. Those images are properly examined by medical experts after the procedure is over. Once everything is properly done, the jelly will be removed from your skin. As a matter of fact, the entire process of USG takes approximately 30 minutes.
How do you prepare for an Ultrasound?
There are certain preparations that you must take before the procedure of USG starts. Some of them are mentioned below.
- In case of Gallbladder ultrasound, the doctors may restrict you to eat or drink for a certain span of time before appearing for the test.
- Inform the doctor if you are continuing any kind of medication as this is very important.
- Children and the younger ones may need certain kinds of additional preparations before appearing for the test. It is better to have a brief consultation with the doctors about it before the test starts.
- In case of Pelvic ultrasound, a full bladder can be required. In that case, gain information from the doctor regarding the amount of water that must be consumed before the test starts.
- All the jewelleries including other metallic objects attached to your body will not be allowed during the ultrasound process.
- Loose clothes are generally preferred when the process of ultrasound is about to be performed.
What happens after the test?
The medical experts will be reviewing all the images and checking for abnormalities in those images. Once the checking is done, then the doctors will be having a conversation with you about it. However, any other test can be required as per your medical need if any type of abnormalities are found in those images. However, you don't need to worry because everything will be properly explained to you by the doctors once the review of the test report is done. After that, you are allowed to get back to the daily life schedule.
What are the risks of Ultrasound?
There are no serious risks that are involved with this advanced scanning method. As a matter of fact, no radiation is used in this process and this is the reason why it is considered as one of the safest methods of scanning. However, it has certain limitations. Ultrasound can not image those body parts having any kind of gas in it because sound can not properly travel through bone or air. However, to be mentioned again, Ultrasound is a safe process to go for.
What can you expect before and after an ultrasound?
- Before an Ultrasound: You will be asked to remove jewelleries or metallic objects from the specific part of your body that is being examined. Besides, you will also be asked to remove your clothes and change it to a gown that is perfect for the test. All these preparations are very necessary before appearing for this test and this is the reason why you must always follow the instructions given to you before and during the test.
- During the process: Firstly a jelly will be applied to your skin for the purpose of preventing air pockets. After that, a technician will be pressing a hand-held transducer against that specific area that needs to be scanned. It will keep sending waves into your body and create images that will be examined later.
However, there are some specific cases when the hand-held transducer is inserted at any specific part of the body for the purpose of creating images of the internal section. For example,
- Transrectal Ultrasound: In this process, a special type of transducer is inserted into the rectum for the purpose of creating images.
- Transvaginal Ultrasound: In this process, that special type of transducer is gently inserted inside the vagina for the purpose of capturing images.
- Transesophageal echocardiogram: In this process, a specific type of transducer is inserted into the esophagus for the purpose of capturing heart images in case the patient is sedated.
What do the results mean?
Once the test is done, the experts will be examining all the images in a proper manner and look for abnormalities. Your doctor will be sharing the result with you and having a brief conversation about it. Soon after the result is generated, you may go back to your daily life.
Cost of Ultrasound in India
The price may vary as per the decision of different medical authorities. However, an ultrasound test cost is not more than 500-800 Rupees in India. Besides, you also don't need to worry about its availability because greater percentage of hospitals and pathology labs have already enabled the facility of USG.