Ultrasound is a popular cost effective imaging tool. High frequency sound waves travel from the ultrasound probe through human tissue. Some of the sound waves bounce back to the transducer. This reflected sound is used by a computer to form the ultrasound image. There is no radiation dose associated with the ultrasound scan.
Ultrasound is the examination of choice in obstetrics. It is used to determine the age, level of development of the fetus and the presence of birth defects or other potential problems.
It is also the examination of choice in young women with pelvic pain and in patients with suspected gallbladder problems.
Ultrasound is useful to study blood flow in larger arteries. It is commonly used to search for abnormal narrowing of the carotid arteries and to monitor aneurysms of the abdominal aorta.