An ultrasound test is a useful diagnostic tool that helps your doctor uncover the cause of symptoms you may be having. You might associate an ultrasound with pregnancy since it is commonly used to take pictures of babies in the womb. However, the test has many useful applications for viewing the various organs of your body. If your doctor has ordered an ultrasound test for you, you may be wondering what to expect. Here's a quick look at how an ultrasound works and how you undergo the test.

What An Ultrasound Does

An ultrasound makes images of the inside of your body without the need for radiation. Instead, sound waves are used. As the waves bounce off organs, bones, and tissues in your body, an image is produced. The image can be displayed as a video on a monitor and printed out in pictures. An ultrasound detects things like clots, tumors, and enlarged organs. It can help your doctor diagnose medical conditions when the results are considered along with other medical tests.

How You Prepare For An Ultrasound

Your doctor probably gave you instructions on how to prepare for your exam. Sometimes, no preparation is needed and you can have an ultrasound right away. Other times, you may need to drink a lot of water first if your bladder is to be examined. You might also need to wait until you've fasted for several hours so there won't be food in your digestive tract to block the images. It's important to follow instructions from your doctor so you get the best results from your ultrasound test.

How The Test Is Given

An ultrasound test can be taken in a hospital, clinic, or even your doctor's office. You'll usually recline comfortably while the technician passes the wand over the part of your body being tested. You may be asked to change into a hospital gown or you might be allowed to wear the clothes you have on. The technician will apply gel to your skin first and then rub a wand over your skin that sends the sound waves into your body. The video is displayed on a monitor beside you and the technician can grab still images from it as the test progresses. There is no pain or discomfort associated with an ultrasound test.

It may be difficult for you to make out what the images show, but a trained eye can pick up on abnormalities and learn quite a bit from an ultrasound. If the test detects a problem, your doctor may order other imaging tests, such as a CT scan or MRI, to get more detailed images. Contact an imaging service, like EVDI Medical Imaging, for more help.