An ultrasound (also called sonogram) is most often associated with pregnancy and the chance to view your unborn baby. But, in much the same way, ultrasound imaging is also a safe, painless way for your doctor to take a closer look at various parts of your body and perform other diagnostic procedures and treatments.
Like its name implies, ultrasound imaging uses reflected sound waves to see the size, shape and real-time movement of organs and soft tissues. This includes the heart and blood vessels, liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, uterus, ovaries, eyes, thyroid and testicles.
Ultrasound imaging can also help doctors during procedures such as needle biopsies, which require the doctor to remove tissue from a very precise area inside the body for testing in a lab.
During an ultrasound test, you will lie on a table and an ultrasound technician will apply a warm gel to your skin. The gel creates a secure contact between your body and a handheld device called a transducer. The transducer sends and receives the sound waves. The technician will press and move the transducer against your body. The reflected sound waves create images of the organ or tissue being examined, similar to the ultrasound images of an unborn child.
Often your Mercy technician will discuss what he or she sees during the ultrasound. In some cases you will need to wait for a Mercy radiologist to review your exam images and report the findings to your doctor.