Sound Information on Ultrasound
Ultrasounds are nothing new. If you’ve been pregnant or have friends who have been, you’ve had one or at least have heard about ultrasounds. Often, the couple is set against finding out the sex of the baby, only to get a glimpse of something that gives it all away during the ultrasound.
But do you know what ultrasound actually is? At the Women’s Health Medical Group, we like our patients to be in the know about everything we do. So, here’s a little primer on ultrasound, and they’re not just used during pregnancy.
Ultrasound is just ordinary sound, but the waves are at a higher frequency than those can be heard by the human ear. It was first used during the WW2 to detect industrial flaws in ships. After the war an obstetrician and engineer teamed up to develop the first prototype systems for clinical use. It began to be used in Glasglow hospitals in 1956, but wasn’t used widely in Britain or the U.S. until the 70s.
Ultrasound involved bouncing “ultrasonic” sound waves at body structures or tissues, and then detecting the echoes that bounce back. When this sound is directed into the body through a transducer either resting on the skin or inserted into a body cavity, the sound waves reflect off internal structures. Those returning echoes are received by the transducer and converted by a specialized computer into an image of the internal structures. These images are then viewed on a monitor adjacent to the patient and clinician.
There are no harmful effects to the human body from ultrasound.
Why would I need a pelvic ultrasound?
Our doctors at the Women’s Health Group can only do so much with a typical pelvic exam alone. A pelvic ultrasound can give our doctors a better picture of the uterus and ovaries. Pelvic pain, abnormal vaginal bleeding, or a suspicion of abnormality from the manual pelvic exam can all be cause to call for an ultrasound for more information.
Abdominal or vaginal ultrasound
An ultrasound of this type may be abdominal or vaginal, sometimes both. In an abdominal ultrasound, the transducer is placed on the patient’s abdomen. A small amount of gel is placed there to ensure good contact with the transducer to provide the best images. An abdominal ultrasound delivers a more panoramic view of the entire pelvis. This is the kind of ultrasound most people are familiar with.
In a vaginal ultrasound, the transducer is inserted into the vagina, similar to the way a tampon is inserted. This type of ultrasound often provides improved visualization because the transducer is closer to the area being examined. Sometimes, both methods may be employed for our doctors to see everything they feel is necessary.
Do have any other questions about our use of ultrasound testing at the Women’s Health Medical Group? Call us and ask away, 817-346-5336.