Questions Patients Might ask About Ultrasounds
Ultrasound examinations are one of the greatest medical advancements of the last 100 years. It is a completely noninvasive and painless examination the doctors use to diagnose patients. When it comes to diagnostic tools, there isn’t much better.
An ultrasound is a series of sound waves that bounce back and forth from a transducer. A computer reads and interprets those waves to create an image of the desired area inside the body. The pelvic ultrasound is the most widely known type because medical professionals use them on pregnant mothers.
To a patient that has never had an ultrasound, the machine can look intimidating. As such, questions patients might ask about ultrasounds may vary; however, they are all relevant. We list a few common questions patients receiving a pelvic ultrasound may ask here.
What Happens During the Exam?
A doctor may ask a patient to change into a hospital gown depending on the area of the body they’re inspecting. A patient may also receive a contrast agent beforehand—this is a harmless injection that helps the images appear clearer. From here, the patient will receive one of three types of ultrasound scans: eternal, internal, and endoscopic.
External ultrasound scans require the patient to lie on their back. The radiologist will then apply a water-based to the area they’re examining and move the probe back and forth across the area to get an image. Internal scans also require patients to lie on their backs. The doctor will then insert a small probe into the body to transmit images to the monitor. Finally, endoscopic scans typically involve inserting an endoscope into the body via the mouth. Patients will lie on their side during this procedure, and they may receive a sedative and local anesthetic spray.
Are There Any Risks?
There are none. As of right now, there are no known risks involved with an ultrasound of any kind. The machine produces sound waves to create the image. They are different from x-rays, which use small amounts of radiation. Further, the technician performing the exam receives professional training to ensure they know how to operate the machine. They’ll also have a strong understanding of human anatomy to interpret the results properly.
When Will I Get Results?
That depends on the nature of the ultrasound. If it is prenatal, then the doctor will likely discuss the results during the exam. If there are more serious things that a doctor is looking for, they may need some time to review the images. Once they get the images and can look at them thoroughly, they will contact the patient and discuss their findings. Depending on the doctor’s schedule, this may take up to a few days.
Why Is the Ultrasound Necessary?
Ultrasound is necessary to find and diagnose any problems that easily go undetected. An ultrasound can see inside the body without making an incision and opening the patient up. With advances in AI and 3D and 4D images, doctors can see more now than they ever could.
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