Diagnostic Ultrasonography

Diagnostic Ultrasonography

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    A testicular ultrasound is a safe, painless procedure that uses sound waves to create images projected onto a computer monitor of a man's scrotum and testicles and nearby structures. During the procedure, an ultrasound technician applies a clear gel to the scrotal sac, then moves a small, hand-held device called a transducer gently over the gelled area. High-frequency sound waves are transmitted from the transducer through the gel to the structures in the scrotal area and then bounce back to a computer that uses those sound waves to create an image on the screen.

    A testicular ultrasound (or scrotal ultrasound) may be used to help diagnose the cause of several different symptoms including:
    • enlargement of the testicles
    • lumps or masses in one or both testicles
    • testicular pain
    • infertility
    • undescended testicles
    • impact of trauma to the area
    In most cases, a radiologist will interpret the results of a testicular ultrasound and confer with your primary care doctor to determine whether you need further testing or follow-up care.
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    A pelvic ultrasound is a safe, painless procedure that uses sound waves to create images of the pelvic area that are projected onto a computer monitor. During the procedure, an ultrasound technician applies a special gel either directly to the skin of the stomach (to view the pelvic area through the abdomen) or to a probe called a transducer that is then gently inserted into the vagina (for a vaginal ultrasound in women) or the rectum (for a rectal ultrasound in men). High-frequency sound waves are transmitted from the transducer through the gel to the structures in the pelvic area and then bounce back to a computer that uses those sound waves to create an image on the screen.

    Pelvic ultrasounds can be used to examine and diagnose problems of:
    • the uterus, cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes and vagina in women
    • the seminal vesicles and prostate gland in men
    • the bladder and kidneys in both men and women
    Pelvic ultrasound is also very helpful for minimally invasive procedures like needle biopsies, as a real-time guide for the technician. In children, a pelvic ultrasound can help determine the shape, size and position of organs in the pelvis, and can detect tumors, cysts or extra fluid in the pelvis, and help find the cause of symptoms such as pelvic pain, urinary problems or, in girls, abnormal menstrual bleeding.
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    Fetal ultrasound is a safe, painless imaging test that is performed during pregnancy to create and view images of the developing fetus, placenta and amniotic fluid inside the uterus.

    During a fetal ultrasound, an ultrasound technician applies a special gel to the woman's abdomen or, in the case of a vaginal ultrasound, directly onto a special probe called a transducer which is inserted into the vagina. High-frequency sound waves are transmitted from the transducer and then bounce back to a computer that uses those sound waves to create an image of the fetus on the screen.

    The following body structures in the developing fetus are usually examined during a routine fetal ultrasound:
    • head and brain
    • heart
    • abdomen and stomach
    • bladder
    • spine
    • kidneys
    • limbs
    • umbilical cord
    Because fetal ultrasound is a low-risk, painless procedure that can provide a wealth of information to the pregnant woman and her doctor, the procedure has become a routine part of prenatal care in the United States.
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    A cranial ultrasound is a type of imaging test that looks at either the blood flow within the brain (a transcranial Doppler ultrasound) or the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain and spinal cord and helps to cushion and protect them (head ultrasound).

    Ultrasound is a safe, painless procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the inside of the body or head. During a cranial ultrasound, an ultrasound technician applies a special gel to the scalp and moves a tool called a transducer over the gel-covered area. High-frequency sound waves are transmitted from the transducer through the gel into the head. The transducer collects the sounds that bounce back and a computer then uses those sound waves to create images on a computer screen.

    Cranial ultrasounds are often used to examine the brains of premature infants. In adults, they may also be used to assess brain tumors during surgery.
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    Venous ultrasound is the gold standard for the diagnosis of deep venous thrombosis (DVT), which is a life-threatening condition but which can be treated when diagnosed. Venous ultrasound also is available to help determine the cause of varicose veins. Positioning patients and using blood pressure cuffs can help show whether venous reflux is present. Knowing the status of venous reflux assists the physician in determining appropriate treatment options.

    The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nor does the contents of this website constitute the establishment of a physician patient or therapeutic relationship. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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    The following questions can help you talk to your physician about having intravascular ultrasound (IVUS).
    • Why might IVUS be beneficial for me?
    • What individual risks will IVUS present for me?
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    The following questions can help you talk to your physician about a transcranial Doppler (TCD) test. Print out or write down these questions and take them with you to your appointment. Taking notes can help you remember your physician’s response when you get home.
    • Am I at high risk for stroke?
    • What can TCD tell us about my risk for stroke?
    • What happens next if the TCD test reveals a potential problem with the arteries leading to my brain?
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    Transcranial Doppler (TCD) does not require preparation on the part of the patient. You will be asked to lie down on an examining table or sit upright. The health care professional performing the TCD will apply a harmless gel to your skin over your temple to help the sound waves transmit into the body. Then the person who is conducting the test will pass the transducer over your skin.
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    During Transcranial Doppler (TCD) ultrasound, a hand-held wand called a transducer is moved over the skin near your temple. The transducer emits sound waves that then bounce off blood cells and are picked up again by the transducer. A computer interprets these sound-wave signals. TCD can provide your physician with information about the speed of blood flow in the brain. To assess stroke risk, the TCD technician or nurse may pass the wand over the carotid arteries (arteries in the neck) and arteries at the base of the brain
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    Transcranial Doppler (TCD) is a form of ultrasound. You may already be familiar with ultrasound technology because of its wide range of uses in diagnosing medical conditions and in monitoring during pregnancy. Transcranial Doppler is ultrasound that is performed at the base of the brain to assess the risk of stroke.