Exploring Different Types of Ultrasounds
January 6 2022 - Did you know that the roots of ultrasound trace back to the time of the ancient Greeks? However, its first documented use in medical diagnosis wasn't until the 1940s.
Since then, many different types of ultrasounds have made their way into healthcare. Today, doctors use ultrasound, also called sonography, to diagnose and treat health conditions.
So, what are the most common ultrasound types? What are their uses, and which health problems can they detect?
We'll answer those questions in this guide, so be sure to read on!
A pelvic ultrasound creates images of the organs and structures in the female pelvis. These include the cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, and vagina.
There are two types of pelvic ultrasound, one of which is transabdominal ultrasound. Transabdominal means through the abdomen. The second type is transvaginal ultrasound, done through the vagina.
Doctors use pelvic ultrasounds to diagnose issues in the female pelvis. For example, they use it to detect uterus and endometrium problems. They can also use it to look for cysts, masses, or tumors.
Moreover, a pelvic ultrasound is a non-invasive way to check fetal development. It can even aid doctors in assessing fetal conditions, such as multiple gestations.
Digestive diseases affect some 60 million to 70 million people in the US alone. These include gallstones, kidney stones, liver disease, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Doctors can diagnose many of those conditions through abdominal ultrasounds.
An abdominal ultrasound is a test done to view the abdomen's structures. These include the gallbladder, intestines, kidneys, liver, pancreas, and spleen.
A transrectal (through the rectum) ultrasound creates images of the prostate gland. Doctors often use it to screen for prostate cancer, one of the most common cancers among men. It's so prevalent that in 2021, doctors diagnosed an estimated 248,530 men in the US with the condition.
Transrectal ultrasounds can also screen for cysts or tumors. For that reason, both men and women can undergo the test. It also serves as an alternative for women who can't get a transvaginal ultrasound.
Point-Of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS)
Point-of-care ultrasound is the use of ultrasound technology for bedside diagnosis and treatment. It utilizes portable machines that can take images within just a few minutes. That enables healthcare professionals to obtain specific answers much faster.
For the same reasons, one of the chief benefits of POCUS is that it can drastically reduce the time to diagnose. That makes it invaluable in emergencies, such as cardiac arrests or trauma.
A Doppler ultrasound is a non-invasive test used to gauge blood flow within the blood vessels. It works by directing high-frequency sound waves on circulating red blood cells.
Doppler ultrasounds assist doctors in looking for reduced or blocked blood flow. In that way, they can determine if a patient is at risk of a stroke.
Moreover, Doppler ultrasounds can detect blood clots in the veins of the legs. That makes them invaluable in the diagnosis and treatment of deep vein thrombosis.
Let the Different Types of Ultrasounds Help Improve Your Health
There you have it, your concise guide on the different types of ultrasounds you can get today. While they have varying uses, they all play roles in detecting and treating diseases.
Best of all, ultrasounds are less risky but can be as or even more accurate than X-rays or CT scans.
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