Ultrasound is performed for a number of situations. It is one of the most popular medical imaging techniques in practice for many years. It uses high-frequency sound waves and echoes for imaging. There are different types of ultrasound among them the 3D ultrasound imaging, and Doppler Ultrasound is widely used. 3D imaging allows early detection of cancerous and benign tumours, it visualises the fetus and assess its development and visualises blood flow in various organs. Doppler ultrasound measures the frequency change of the echoes and calculates the speed of the object. It is used to measure the heart, arteries and blood flow.
How does Ultrasound Work?
Ultrasound machine transmits 1 to 5 MHz of high-frequency sound pulse into the body. The sound waves travel through the body and hit between the tissues. Some sound waves are reflected back while others travel further till they reach a boundary to get reflected. The reflected waves are probed and relayed into the machine. The machine measures the distance from the probe to the organ with the help of the speed of sound. It is the time the echo returns. The distance and intensities of the echoes are displayed by the machine forming a 2-dimensional image.
Obstetrics and Gynecology
During pregnancy, ultrasound helps to measure the size of the fetus and evaluate the delivery date. It also determines the position of the fetus to see if there is any breach. It identifies the sex of the baby and checks for the number of fetuses in the uterus. The position of the placenta is also verified for any abnormal development over the opening in the cervix.
The ultrasound helps to see the heart from the inside and check for any abnormal structures or function. It also helps to measure blood flow in the heart and blood vessels. It also helps to evaluate the valve functions and to enhance patient care.
Urology / Nephrology
Ultrasound helps in measuring the blood flow in the kidney, evaluating for kidney stones and detecting prostate cancer at an early stage. Nephrologists are interested in ultrasound to evaluate kidney disorders, placing permanent or temporary hemodialysis and conducting biopsies.
The latest computer aided ultrasound machines are getting faster and precise with more storage capacity. The transducers are getting smaller facilitating more insertable probes for better imaging of internal organs. 3D ultrasound is highly developed and is growing in popularity. The machine is becoming much smaller, and hand-held machines for battlefield triage and paramedics are introduced.