During the exam, an instrument called a transducer sends out ultrasonic sound waves at a frequency too high to be heard. These waves bounce off internal structures like an echo. The transducer picks up reflected sound waves and a computer converts them into an image.
This technology lets doctors visualize real-time functioning of internal organs. At El Camino Health, sonographers can use a special type of ultrasound technology, called Doppler ultrasound, to evaluate blood flow.
Your ultrasound procedure will depend on the area being examined, but all exams follow a general sequence:
- The sonographer positions you for the exam and applies a water-based gel to your skin, which allows the transducer to slide smoothly.
- They press the transducer against your skin and move it over the area, changing angle and direction to achieve the best image.
- The image appears on a monitor and can be recorded and sent to your doctor or other specialists.
Ultrasound is used to diagnose and monitor a wide range of conditions in various specialties, including:
- Mother-baby health – To monitor the development of the fetus.
- Heart health – To evaluate blood flow through the chambers and valves of the heart.
- Orthopedic health – To examine joints and muscles after injuries or to find the reason for pain or other symptoms.
- Surgery – To help guide a biopsy or a minimally invasive procedure.
- Women's health – To diagnose problems of the uterus, ovaries and other pelvic organs, and to examine a problem area found by a mammogram.
- Men’s health – To examine the prostate gland if problems are found during a physical exam. We use Artemis™ 3D Imaging technology that greatly enhances your doctor’s ability to examine suspicious areas and take samples for biopsy.