hello world!
Published: 28/06/2022

What is an ultrasound scan

Ultrasound is a non-invasive medical investigation that is widely used to monitor and diagnose conditions in various parts of the body. Common applications of ultrasound include testicular, gynaecological, and pregnancy scans. In the UK, patients can choose between private ultrasound services, such as those offered at our Harley Street clinic, Sonoworld, and NHS ultrasound scans.

An ultrasound scan utilizes high-frequency sound waves to generate images of the internal organs of the human body. These images are displayed on a monitor and can be stored electronically. The ultrasound scanner employs the same technology as the sonar used by ships.

How Does Ultrasound Work?

During an ultrasound scan, a probe is passed over the area of the body being examined. The sound waves emitted by the probe bounce off internal organs and return to the probe as echoes. These echoes are then transmitted to a computer, which processes the sound waves and converts them into images displayed on a monitor.

Ultrasound imaging is a popular diagnostic tool due to its painless and safe nature for adults, children, and foetuses. Unlike other imaging modalities such as CT scans and plain x-rays, there are no side effects associated with ultrasound, as it does not involve ionizing radiation.

Ultrasound is particularly effective for imaging solid soft organs such as the liver, kidneys, uterus, ovaries, muscles, and blood vessels, as well as babies in the womb. However, it has limited value in examining organs such as the lungs, bones, stomach, and bowel/colon.

The scan images produced by ultrasound are typically black and white. However, colour Doppler technology is used to assess blood flow and blood vessels, resulting in the red and blue hues seen on the screen.

What is Ultrasound Used For?

Ultrasound has a wide range of applications, including:

Baby Scanning (Pregnancy Ultrasound)

Ultrasound is routinely used to monitor the development of babies in the womb. It can provide crucial information about the health, growth, and position of the foetus, as well as identify potential abnormalities.

Musculoskeletal Ultrasound

This type of ultrasound is employed to examine muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints. It can detect injuries, inflammation, and other conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system.

Breast Ultrasound

Breast ultrasound is used as a supplementary tool to mammography, helping to further evaluate breast lumps, cysts, and other abnormalities.

Testicular Screening

Testicular ultrasound is a non-invasive way to assess the testicles and surrounding structures, aiding in the diagnosis of conditions such as testicular torsion, epididymitis, and testicular cancer.

Gynaecological Ultrasound

Gynaecological ultrasound is used to examine the female reproductive system, including the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. It can identify issues such as ovarian cysts, fibroids, and endometriosis.

Detecting Heart Abnormalities (Echocardiogram)

An echocardiogram is a specialized ultrasound scan that visualizes the heart and its structures, assessing its function and detecting abnormalities.

In addition to these common applications, there is a comprehensive range of general ultrasound scans available, including specialist procedures such as:

  • Pelvic (transabdominal and transvaginal)
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Urology, including prostate
  • Biliary
  • Small parts

Preparing for Ultrasound Scanning

The preparation required for an ultrasound scan varies depending on the specific test. Some scans necessitate fasting, while others may require the patient to drink water. For example, when having a pelvic ultrasound, a full bladder can improve visualization of the pelvic organs.

It is essential to follow the instructions provided with

your appointment letter to ensure accurate results. If you have any questions or concerns about the preparation for your scan, do not hesitate to contact the clinic using the number provided in your appointment letter.

Benefits of Ultrasound

Ultrasound offers several advantages over other imaging modalities:

  • Painless and non-invasive
  • Can visualize movement and function, allowing for examination of blood vessels and blood flow to different organs
  • Does not use x-rays or any other type of ionizing radiation to produce an image
  • Provides a clear image of soft tissues that may not show up well on x-rays
  • Causes no health problems and can be repeated as often as necessary

What Happens During an Ultrasound Scan?

During the ultrasound scan, the sonographer will spread a gel on the area to be examined and rest a small probe over the skin. The gel facilitates the transmission of sound waves and helps the probe glide smoothly. The probe generates sound waves that travel through the skin and into the body. Part of the sound waves are reflected back to the probe as echoes, which the computer analyzes and converts into images displayed on the screen. This process is similar to the sonar technology used by the navy to detect submarines.

The ultrasound image will appear on the scanner's monitor, allowing the sonographer to assess the area being examined.

Are Ultrasound Scans Dangerous?

When performed by qualified practitioners, ultrasound scanning is not dangerous and has no known side effects.

When Will I Find Out the Results?

For most types of scans, our sonographers will be able to explain the images and results to you during or just after the scan. In some cases, a detailed analysis may be necessary, and a specialist will need to review the images.

Our specialists will analyze the images and send a report on the findings to you, ensuring that you have a comprehensive understanding of the results.

At Sonoworld, our team of experienced sonographers is dedicated to providing high-quality ultrasound services in a comfortable and professional environment. If you have any questions or concerns about your upcoming ultrasound scan, please contact our clinic to speak with one of our experts.

Ultrasound clinic london registered and regulated by CQC
Ultrasound London Clinic Address:
29 Weymouth Street, Marylebone, London, W1G 7DB
Phone: 020 3633 4902 Email: info@sonoworld.co.uk or sonoworlduk@gmail.com
crossmenu Tap to Call