Ultrasound Technology Defined
Ultrasound is a safe, painless diagnostic procedure that uses high frequency sound waves to see specific areas within the body. The primary benefit of ultrasound is its ability to generate highly-detailed, real-time images without being invasive and without using radiation.
Ultrasound Technology at EPIC
EPIC Imaging has one of the most comprehensive ultrasound departments in the Portland metro region with expertly trained specialists in breast, vascular, musculoskeletal (MSK), pelvic and obstetrical sonography. Ultrasound is an invaluable technology with many applications in imaging.
- In obstetrical imaging, ultrasound is used to assess fetal age, health and well-being.
- In breast imaging, ultrasound provides more detailed examination of potential abnormalities found in breast tissue during mammography. It quickly allows the radiologist to assess whether a lump is just a fluid filled cyst or a solid mass requiring biopsy.
- In vascular imaging, the advanced color flow and doppler functionality on EPIC’s state-of-the-art ultrasound technology makes it ideal to evaluate major blood vessels and evaluate potential blockages to flow by plaque or clots.
- In abdominal disorders, ultrasound is used to evaluate abdominal or pelvic pain as in the case of gallstones, liver disorders or appendicitis.
- For MSK, the flexibility of ultrasound provides a real-time view of effects of movement on the structures of joints, tendons, ligaments, etc.
- In addition to these applications, ultrasound is widely used as a guidance tool during procedures like biopsies and specialized interventional pain injections.
How Ultrasound Works
Ultrasound uses the same echo-locating principles of sonar technology employed for decades by ships at sea. When sound waves are directed into the body, they produce echoing waves as they bounce against the internal fluids of the human body. The echoes are captured and reconstructed by sophisticated computer software into live images on a computer monitor.
During an ultrasound exam, the, painless high frequency sound waves are emitted and received by a small hand-held device called a transducer. The transducer is placed in close contact with the skin and a gel-like substance is used to ensure that contact is optimized. As the sound waves move through the various structures of the body, “echoes” will bounce back and be captured by the ultrasound computer attached to the transducer. These echoes will be displayed instantly as real-time images on a monitor. Depending on the type of exam the physician has requested, images will be selectively captured onto film for the radiologist to interpret.
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