Ultrasound scan is not just restricted to foetal imaging, but is used in a host of applications. Ultrasound is also called sonography. Ultrasound is created using high frequency sound waves that go inside the body to screen the internal organs of a patient. It is prominently used in screening the growth of the foetus in a pregnant woman. Since these are just sound waves, there are no adverse effects on the mother or the child. Ultrasound scan centres in Chennai are constantly updating their technologies to offer world class diagnostic experience to their patients. The scan is used to identify infection, reason for pain or swelling inside the internal organs. It is seen as an authority over biopsies, particularly after a heart attack. The process is non-invasive, safe and no radiation is used. There is no need for any preparation to take a scan. The only preparation would be to refrain from taking food or drink before the scan.
Breast ultrasound is performed in an ultrasound room in closed privacy. The lights are dimmed to improve the quality of the image. During a breast ultrasound, the breast tissues are examined. The images are displayed on the computer screen. The breast lumps may be examined for fluids or solids. The test evaluates whether it is cancerous or non-cancerous. The breast tissues of younger women are denser when compared to older women, making it tough to detect abnormalities in the breasts when a mammogram is performed. The complications due to mastitis, nipple discharge, implant problems and assess problems are examined during an ultrasound. It also acts as a guide for needle placement during biopsies.
Breast ultrasound procedure
Once you change into a gown, you are asked to lie on the examination table. A triangular sponge is placed behind the shoulder as you roll to your side slightly. The scanning is effective in this position. Gel is applied on the skin and the transducer is placed on the skin and moved gently to examine your breast. During the assessment the examination of armpit is also conducted to assess enlarged lymph glands. The images are checked by the radiologists to examine the symptoms, any extra information are also provided by the radiologists to help in the accurate diagnosis.
The report of the scan is written by a qualified radiologist and sent to the doctor. The reports will reach the doctor depending on the urgency of the case, complexity of the test, comparison with previous X Ray and scan reports or as soon as the interpretation is done by the radiologists.
General Benefits of ultrasound scan
The ultrasound uses are immense and some are listed below:
- The examination helps to diagnose a number of conditions and evaluate the extent of organ damage post illness. Ultrasound scan is used to examine the internal organs of the body like blood vessels, heart, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, spleen, kidney, bladder, eyes, uterus and ovaries, foetus, eyes, scrotum, thyroid, growth of brain, hips and spine of the infants.
- Ultrasound assists in procedures like needle biopsies, breast cancer biopsy and diagnosing heart conditions like heart failure and evaluating damage after a heart attack. Heart ultrasound is called echocardiogram.
- Ultrasound helps physicians to evaluate blood flow blocks, tumours, narrowing down of the blood vessels, congenital vascular malformations, decreased or absence of blood flow to certain organs and excessive blood flow to certain areas due to infections.
- In cases of breast ultrasound, the scan detects and identifies breast lumps. This examination helps the doctors to tell the difference between solid lumps and cysts. It gives a clarity to the doctors on whether the breast lumps need biopsy. It helps to find out the complications related to mastitis, problems arising due to breast implants and nipple discharge condition.
Preparation for ultrasound
There is not much preparation needed for ultrasound scan. The patient may be asked to wear loose fitting clothing during the process. The clothing is removed in the place where the examination is conducted. Patients are also asked not to wear any jewellery. The doctor may advise you not to take food or drinks 12 hours prior to your appointment. In some cases, the doctor may advise you to drink 6 glasses of water, two hours in advance and avoid urinating to keep the bladder full.
In most cases, the patient is asked to lie face up on the examination table that has the provisions to be tilted and repositioned. The patients are asked to turn on the sides or lie flat depending on the organ to be scanned. The sonologist is trained to conduct the examination. It is the sonologist who will supervise and interpret radiology examinations. After applying water based gel, the procedure commences. The reason for applying the gel is to eliminate air pockets forming between the transducer and the body. The images are captured based on the focus area.
The patient is not at any discomfort when the transducer comes in contact with the body. Though, when pressed in areas of tenderness, slight pain may be experienced.