Ultrasound is a non-invasive investigation which is being used to monitor and diagnose conditions in many parts of the body. Some men's and women's tests including testicular, gynaecological and pregnancy scans are carried out using ultrasound.
An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the interior of the human body. These images are displayed on a monitor and can then be stored electronically. The scanner uses the same technology as the sonar used by ships. During your scan, a probe is passed over an area of your body. The sound waves bounce off internal organs and are passed back through the microphone to a computer. The computer turns these sound waves into images that are displayed on a monitor.
Ultrasound is widely used these days as it is painless and safe for adults, children and foetuses. There are no side effects such as the ones associated with ionising radiation produced by CT and plain x-rays.Ultrasound is being used to image mostly solid soft organs such as liver, kidneys, uterus and ovaries, muscles and blood vessels and babies in the womb. It has, however, limited value in organs such as lungs, bone, stomach and bowel/colon.Ultrasound images are black and white but colour Doppler is being used to evaluate organ blood flow and blood vessels and this is what the red and blue colours on the screen are.
What is ultrasound used for?
Ultrasound is used for a wide variety of scans, including: