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Ultrasound Testing

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In this article, we delve into the world of ultrasound imaging tests, exploring their significance in modern healthcare. From understanding how ultrasound technology works to discovering the different types of ultrasound exams available, we aim to provide you with valuable insights into this non-invasive medical procedure. 

We invite you to take proactive steps toward your health by considering Maiden Lane Medical as your trusted partner in women’s health. Our team of experienced gynecologists and specialists is committed to providing exceptional care. Schedule an appointment today or visit our new walk-in clinic in Murray Hill, NY!

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What is an Ultrasound Imaging Test?

Ultrasound imaging (also known as sonography) is a non-invasive medical test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the inside of the body. Unlike X-rays or CT scans, which ionizing radiation, ultrasound relies on sound waves, making it safer and without ionizing radiation exposure, and does not increase your risk for cancers.

Ultrasound waves can penetrate into the body, allowing healthcare providers to visualize organs and structures that are not easily seen with other imaging techniques. For example, ultrasound can assess the health of organs such as the liver, kidneys, and uterus, as well as monitor the growth and development of a fetus during pregnancy.

A pregnant woman having a pregnancy ultrasound in Manhattan, NY.

How Does an Ultrasound Work?

A small device called a transducer emits high-frequency sound waves into the body. These sound waves travel through the skin and soft tissues and bounce off organs and other structures inside the body. When the sound waves encounter a boundary between different tissues, such as between fluid and soft tissue or between soft tissue and bone, some of the waves are reflected back to the transducer.

The transducer collects these reflected waves and sends them to a computer, which processes the information to create ultrasound images. These images provide detailed pictures of the internal organs, blood vessels, and tissues in real time.

What Are the Different Types of Ultrasound Imaging Tests?

Ultrasound imaging offers a range of tests that provide valuable insights into various medical conditions. Here are some common types of ultrasound imaging and their uses:

Diagnostic Ultrasound

This is the most common type of ultrasound test. It creates images of organs, tissues, and blood vessels. Doctors use it to diagnose conditions in the abdomen, pelvis, heart, blood vessels, and other parts of the body. It’s often used during pregnancy to monitor fetal development. It could also include the following:

  • Transrectal Ultrasound: This type of ultrasound is used to examine the prostate gland in men. A small probe is inserted into the rectum to create detailed images of the prostate. Transrectal ultrasound helps doctors detect conditions such as prostate cancer, enlarged prostate, or infections.
  • Transvaginal Ultrasound: Transvaginal ultrasound is used to examine the female reproductive system. A probe is inserted into the vagina to get close-up images of the uterus, ovaries, and cervix. It helps diagnose conditions such as ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, and infertility issues. It’s also commonly used during pregnancy to monitor the health of the fetus.
  • Doppler Ultrasound: Doppler ultrasound measures the speed and direction of blood flow in blood vessels. It helps doctors evaluate conditions such as blood clots, narrowing of blood vessels, abnormalities in blood flow to organs like the heart or kidneys, and in ovaries, and uterus, and potential abnormalities in those areas as well. Doppler ultrasound is crucial for assessing circulation and identifying potential issues with blood flow.

What Can I Expect from an Ultrasound Imaging Test?

Most ultrasound exams are painless and don’t require any special preparation, although you may be asked to avoid eating, drinking, or even emptying your bladder before certain types of exams.

Once you’re ready, you’ll be asked to lie down on an examination table. The ultrasound technician will apply a clear gel to the area of your body being examined. This gel helps the ultrasound waves travel smoothly and allows the ultrasound probe, a small device that emits and receives ultrasound waves, to make good contact with your skin.

 

A woman getting an abdominal ultrasound.

The technician will then gently move the ultrasound probe over the area of interest. The probe sends out high-frequency ultrasound waves into your body, which bounce off internal structures and create detailed images on a nearby computer screen. You might feel a slight pressure from the probe, but it’s generally not uncomfortable.

During the ultrasound exam, the technician may need to adjust the position of the probe to get different views or capture specific images. They may also ask you to change positions or hold your breath briefly to improve image quality.

Most ultrasound exams are quick but it depends on what is being investigated and the complexity of the test. (Transvaginal sonograms usually only take a few minutes, between 10 – 15 minutes, while fetal surveys can take between 1 – 2 hours) Once the exam is complete, the technician will clean off the gel, and you’ll be free to go about your day as usual. 

Are There Any Risks Associated with Ultrasound Imaging?

Ultrasound technology is generally considered safe and carries minimal risks. Unlike X-rays or CT scans, ultrasound imaging does not use ionizing raidiation, making it safer for repeated use, including during pregnancy. Additionally, because it doesn’t involve surgery or injections, there’s virtually no risk of infection or complications from the procedure itself.

Maiden Lane Medical: Your Trusted Partner in Women’s Health

Ultrasound testing is a vital tool in modern medicine, offering a safe and non-invasive way to peer inside the body. Our experienced team of gynecologists and specialists is dedicated to providing top-notch care for women’s health needs.

Visit our Walk-in Gynecology & Women’s Care clinic in Murray Hill, NY, for convenient access to expert services. Take charge of your health today and experience the difference at Maiden Lane Medical. Schedule your appointment with one of our specialists now!

Medically Reviewed By

Fernando Mariz, MD
Obstetrics and Gynecology

Our doctors who provide this service

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Rachel Barr, MD

Board Certified Gynecologist

Emily Blanton, MD

Board Certified Gynecologist

Focused Practice Designation in Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery
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Janette Davison, MD

Board Certified Gynecologist

Focused Practice Designation in Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery

Armina Eana, DO MPH

Board Certified OB/GYN
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Ilene Fischer, MD

Board Certified Gynecologist
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Dena Harris, MD

Board Certified Gynecologist

Kenneth A. Levey, MD MPH FACOG FACS

Board Certified Gynecologist & CEO and Managing Partner of Maiden Lane Medical

Focused Practice Designation in Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery

Fernando Mariz, MD

Obstetrics and Gynecology

Savita Sukha, WHNP

Women's Health Nurse Practitioner

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