Featured Image Caption: All About Ultrasound
Ultrasounds are one of the most common procedures performed across the world. As with anything related to treatment, people who aren’t familiar with diagnostic imaging might have some questions about ultrasounds. This article is aimed at shedding light on several different aspects of this procedure. Let’s dive in!
The Definition of Ultrasound
An ultrasound, or sonography, is a procedure where doctors use high-frequency sound waves, that we cannot detect with our naked ear, to get images from the inside of our body. Sound waves make their way through our organs and bounce back, sometimes echoing earlier when there are obstacles such as gallstones.
The denser the object is, the larger the ultrasound waves bounce back, and the darker the area on the image will be. Although this procedure is most often associated with pregnancy, people can examine different organs which aren’t related to giving birth. For example:
- the thyroid gland, and the list goes on.
Also, sonography is used as guidance for diagnosing some diseases such as biopsies that require removing tissue from the area inside the body. Thanks to the images that doctors take, they are able to more clearly visualize where to remove tissue.
Types of the Procedure
There are multiple types of ultrasounds:
- traditional when a wand is pressed on your skin
- procedures when a transducer is put inside your organs such as transvaginal ultrasound
- bone sonography when your bones are explored
- doppler when a doctor gets images of your blood
Additionally, there have been many advancements in ultrasound technology. We now have 3D ultrasounds, where it’s possible to see three-dimensional interpretations of the inside of the body, and 4D ultrasounds, which allow doctors to see 3D images in motion.
How Much It Costs
Before visiting a doctor for an ultrasound, it’s better to learn about ultrasound costs that are around $380 on average. Keep in mind that you can pay upwards of $1000 for an ultrasound due to the fact that the price depends on a variety of factors:
- the state
- the type of procedure: diagnostic ultrasound is more expensive than therapeutic one
- where do you do it: ultrasound at hospitals is more expensive than at private facilities.
Therefore, don’t forget to check the price, before receiving the procedure, in order to take advantage of the most cost effective option.
How to Prepare for an Ultrasound
Do the following things to prepare for a sonography:
- remove all jewelry from the examined area of your body. In general, it’s good to leave jewelry at home to avoid wearing extra items
- remove all clothing from the area being studied.
After doing that, it’s necessary to lie on an examination table.
In major cases, the above-mentioned actions are the only ones you need to do, but there are some exceptions:
- gallbladder ultrasounds require no eating and drinking for several hours before the procedure in order to get clearer images
- pelvic ultrasounds require a full bladder; thus, your task is to drink a certain amount of liquid and not urinate before the exam.
Likewise, children in certain cases require more preparation steps that your doctor will warn you about in advance.
The process of ultrasound imaging consists of two steps: the procedure itself and results from interpreted images. Let’s explore them in detail.
During the Procedure
This procedure takes around 15 to 45 minutes depending on the area that is being examined. The first step that a doctor does is apply a special gel on the area of interest. The purpose of this gel is to prevent air pockets that don’t inhibit the sound waves from creating clear images. Thankfully, his gel is easy to remove from the skin and clothing.
Then, a doctor presses a transducer, a hand-held device, over the area admitting sound waves that will move inside your body and echo back. The image that is created will be depicted as a picture on the computer.
Some versions of this medical procedure require putting a transducer inside your body. For example, when it comes to a transvaginal ultrasound, a hand-held device is put in your vagina to explore the uterus and ovaries.
After an Ultrasound
After the imaging procedure is done, a doctor will review the taken images, and after a few minutes, you’ll hear whether you need further image testing, such as an MRI. Moreover, you’ll learn whether you have any underlying conditions, in which case, you can start treatment immediately.
Images can be interpreted by a person who has done sonography or a radiologist.
The Bottom Line
So now you know the ins and outs of an ultrasound procedure and the cost itself. Take note that $380 is just an average price and the actual one can be different. Moreover, don’t forget about preparing for this procedure in the right way according to the type of your ultrasound to avoid unnecessary complications.