Ultrasound imaging, also known as ultrasound scanning or sonography, is a method of obtaining images from inside the human body through the use of high frequency sound waves. The soundwaves' echoes are recorded and displayed as a real-time, visual image.

How Ultrasound Works

During an ultrasound, the technologist uses a transducer to send the sound waves, which then bounce off the organs in the body and back to the transducer. These are then converted by a computer to produce the image.  

Ultrasounds are used to evaluate organs while they are functioning and can also assess blood flow. A special transducer called a Doppler probe is used to evaluate blood flow.

Types of Ultrasound

Ultrasound exams are non-invasive and can be performed on many different organs. Some common types of ultrasounds performed at CAMC are:  

Abdominal ultrasounds can be used to diagnose issues with organs in the abdominal area, such as gallstones, liver disease or kidney stones. 

Pelvic ultrasounds (also known as transabdominal, transvaginal or gynecologic ultrasound) are done to examine the organs within the female pelvis – uterus, ovaries, vagina, and cervix. Pelvic ultrasounds are used to find issues such as abnormalities, fibroids and cysts and can also be used for monitoring for fertility treatments. 

Fetal ultrasounds (also known as OB ultrasounds) may be done transabdominally or transvaginally and are used during pregnancy to measure fetal growth. 

A breast ultrasound may be done to evaluate if something found during a mammogram is a fluid-filled cyst or a solid tumor. It can also identify abnormalities in women whose breast tissue is too dense to be examined accurately by mammography. 

Vascular ultrasound studies are used to check blood flow in arteries and veins. A study called a carotid artery duplex scan may be performed if blockage or narrowing of the arteries in the neck is suspected.