Ultrasound imaging (sonography) uses high-frequency sound waves to view inside the body. Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can also show movement of the body’s internal organs as well as blood flowing through the blood vessels. Unlike X-ray imaging, there is no ionizing radiation exposure associated with ultrasound imaging.
The ultrasound image is produced based on the reflection of the waves off of the body structures. The strength (amplitude) of the sound signal and the time it takes for the wave to travel through the body provide the information necessary to produce an image. Ultrasound imaging is a medical tool that can help a physician evaluate, diagnose and treat medical conditions. Common ultrasound imaging procedures include:
- Fetal ultrasound (to view the fetus in pregnancy)
- Abdominal ultrasound (to visualize abdominal tissues and organs)
- Doppler ultrasound (to visualize blood flow through a blood vessel, organs, or other structures)
- Breast ultrasound (to visualize breast tissue)
- Ultrasound-guided biopsies (to guide the collection of a sample of tissue)