Contrary to what a lot of people think, ultrasound exams are not exclusive to pregnant women. Indeed, there are several other reasons when such an exam is required. In this post, we will discuss the reasons why your doctor may prescribe you an ultrasound, which body parts it can analyze and in which cases this procedure is not effective.
When do Doctors Prescribe an Ultrasound?
An ultrasound provides more information to your doctor when he or she is not able to make a final diagnosis without the aid of medical images. The collected images will be used to get a better understanding of your situation and will help to prepare a strategy to counter the problem that afflicts you.
Your doctor may prescribe an ultrasound when it is needed to understand the source of chronic pain, swelling or infection.
Which Body Parts can be Analyzed During an Ultrasound Examination?
Many body parts can be examined during such a procedure to determine if they have a problematic condition or if they are damaged. Here is a non-exhaustive list of what can be analyzed during an ultrasound performed by a radiologist:
In addition, in specific ultrasound exams, the transducer (which is a component of the ultrasound device) is inserted inside the patient’s body. This is the case in a Tran’s rectal examination (to obtain images of the prostate) and a transvaginal examination (to obtain images of the uterus and the ovaries).
A few Cases Where Ultrasound is not effective
Although ultrasound is a technique that has been used for many decades and has a great track record, it is not very effective under certain conditions:
- Since the ultrasounds emitted by the ultrasound device are dissipated by air and gas, the bowel or the organs hidden behind it cannot be viewed with this kind of test. In this case, radiologists will rather choose to perform an MRI exam or a CT-scan to obtain images.
- Ultrasound is not an appropriate technique when a thorough examination of a patient’s bone structure is required, because ultrasounds have a very hard time to penetrate the bones. In a situation like this, an MRI is typically the go-to procedure.
- Overweight patients make it harder for radiologists to obtain images using ultrasound, because their overabundance of body tissues reduces the ultrasounds’ effectiveness as they pass through their body.
This concludes our post on ultrasound. We hope that you learned a thing or two while reading it!
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