Ultrasound is a sound wave with a frequency lesser than the frequency audible to humans. Therefore, ultrasound waves are beyond the human hearing range. However, revolutionary advancements in the diagnostic field implemented the use of ultrasound waves for the diagnosis of various clinical conditions. In this regard, ultrasound scans have been developed for scanning and imaging body organs and detecting possible abnormalities in pathological conditions. There are many types of ultrasound being performed all over the globe.
The working principle of ultrasound scanning generally involves the administration of ultrasound waves to the body via a probe. These waves strike various body parts and bounce back to create echoes. Finally, the echoed waves create a real-time image of the internal organs.
Multiple types of ultrasound scanning differ based on their target organ of imaging and use. So, let’s go through the most common types of ultrasounds and their use.
Abdominal ultrasound is an ultrasound type that enables examination of various crucial body organs, including the liver, pancreas, spleen, gall bladder, kidney, and urinary bladder. The most prominent use of abdominal ultrasound is the diagnosis and monitoring of illnesses of these organs.
Additionally, abdominal ultrasound can also be employed for guiding the laboratory sampling procedures such as needle biopsies and detection of renal as well as gall stones.
Moreover, with the help of ultrasound, you can also identify the presence of a clot in the blood vessels supplying these organs. Therefore, abdominal ultrasound is an amazing technique for real-time imaging of the organs in the abdominal region.
Pelvic ultrasounds are of utmost importance during pregnancy and are widely employed for monitoring fetal health. Additionally, pelvic ultrasound has various other applications, such as the internal examination of ovaries, uterus, prostate, and bladder.
In this regard, this ultrasound type aids the diagnosis of clinical conditions responsible for pelvic pain, problems related to menstruation and abnormal bleeding, and the detection of ovarian cysts and uterine fibroids.
Moreover, this technology can also provide significant details for the diagnosis of ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, and bladder stones.
Transvaginal and transrectal ultrasounds are the subtypes of pelvic ultrasound based on specific organs under examination. Hence, the massive uses of pelvic ultrasound make it a frequently performed ultrasound type.
Obstetric, pregnancy, or prenatal ultrasound is a special ultrasound type for monitoring the state of pregnancy and fetal health. This ultrasound is routinely performed only upon a valid indication from the clinician. It shows the state of pregnancy by showing pictures of not only the fetus in the uterus but also providing sufficient information about the uterus and ovaries for a complete picture of pregnancy and fetal growth.
The prominent use of this ultrasound involves the determination of the age of the pregnancy, fetal position, placenta position, and detection of multiple pregnancies. Moreover, the complications and abnormalities in the pregnancy can also be assessed by obstetric ultrasound.
An echocardiogram, working on the basic principle of generating images of internal organs by utilizing high-frequency sound waves, generates images of the heart. To the transducer of the echocardiogram, the gel is applied. This transducer sends sound waves to the heart via the skin to check for any abnormality in the crucial organ.
An echocardiogram serves to detect disorders or problems in the chambers or the valves of the heart. It also helps in knowing about congenital heart defects in newborns. It enables the diagnosis of the damage to the heart due to ischemia that blocks blood supply.
Additionally, it can highlight the inability of the heart to supply blood to the body organs due to heart failure. Moreover, it can give an idea about the enlargement of the heart (cardiomyopathy) and infection in the heart.
Breast ultrasound is used for imaging internal breast structures. Breast cancers and other related abnormalities remain the deadliest in women worldwide, and for assessment of breast abnormalities, breast ultrasound remains the topmost strategy.
The breast ultrasound can perform the analysis and validation of breast abnormalities and lumps detected by a physical examination, MRI, or mammogram.
Following the validation of an abnormal and pathological condition in the ultrasound, lab scientists often recommend a breast biopsy for confirmation. In this regard, breast ultrasound can also be used as a guide for assisting physicians during the breast biopsy procedure.
Therefore, the ultimate diagnosis of breast cancers and other pathologies is reliably performed by breast ultrasound. Breast ultrasound can also be employed for pregnant women as an alternative to mammograms because the X-rays used in a mammogram are deadly for fetal growth.
It is the most commonly used imaging test to study the pathology of the left and right kidneys along with the bladder. The kidney is the vital organ of the body that is required to get rid of wastes in the body. Toxic substances like urea, uric acid, and creatinine build in the body due to improper functioning of the kidneys.
Renal ultrasound can tell about an injury or failure to the kidney, cancer, or renal stones. This non-invasive test allows the transducer to emit sound waves that are echoed back by the kidney. These sound waves then generate images of the kidney.
This test helps in evaluating the size, shape, and location of both kidneys. Renal ultrasound predicts the abnormal blood flow to the kidneys that might lead to trauma. Hence, renal ultrasound is a powerful technique to detect life-threatening conditions like kidney tumors and stones.
Thyroid ultrasound, as the name indicates, is the utilization of ultrasound procedures for the internal examination of the thyroid gland. In the case of thyroid abnormalities, excessive growths or lumps can be identified during physical examination, and ultrasound serves as a reliable method for deeply analyzing the nature and severity of these abnormalities.
Moreover, thyroid ultrasound can also be used for the detection of thyroid nodules, their number, growth over time, and severity. In the case of severe nodules, thyroid ultrasound-guided thyroid biopsy or fine needle aspiration can also be performed in which ultrasound serves as a guiding tool for the procedure.
So, this was all about ultrasounds and their types, and hopefully, you found it significantly informative. Ultrasound is a non-invasive, painless, and impressively reliable diagnostic tool that is used for the detection of various pathologies by providing a complete and detailed picture of internal bodily organs.
Along with the diagnosis, ultrasounds also assist in disease prognosis and monitoring of the therapy, thereby emerging as a robust clinical tool.