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"How Does Diagnostic Ultrasound Work and What Can It Detect?"

Ultrasound of the kidney

Ultrasound of kidney

Ultrasound of the Carotid Arteries

Carotid Artery Ultrasound picture


Thyroid Ultrasound

Thyroid ultrasound picture

Musculoskeletal Ultrasound of the Shoulder

MSK ultrasound of the shoulder

In this article we shall try to answer some questions patients have been asking about diagnostic ultrasound and whether they should get one.


Ultrasound, also known as sonography or ultrasonography, is a noninvasive imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to create real-time images of structures inside the body. Let’s explore how it works and what it can detect:

  1. How Ultrasound Works:

  • During an ultrasound, a healthcare provider uses a device called a transducer or probe.

  • The provider applies a thin layer of gel to your skin to transmit the ultrasound waves from the transducer into your body.

  • The probe converts electrical current into high-frequency sound waves, which travel through your body’s tissues.

  • These sound waves bounce off internal structures and return to the probe.

  • The probe converts the returning waves into electrical signals.

  • A computer processes these signals into real-time images or videos displayed on a nearby screen.

  • Unlike X-rays, ultrasound DOES NOT use ionizing radiation. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diagnostics/4995-ultrasound

  1. What Ultrasound Can Detect:

  • Soft Tissues and Organs:

  • Ultrasound provides detailed images of organs such as the liver, kidneys, gallbladder, spleen, and pancreas.

  • It helps identify abnormalities, tumors, cysts, and inflammation.

  • Blood Vessels:

  • Used for vascular imaging, assessing blood flow, and detecting blockages or aneurysms.

  • Musculoskeletal System:

  • Evaluates muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints.

  • Detects injuries, inflammation, and conditions like tendonitis.

  • Reproductive System:

  • Assesses the uterus, ovaries, and prostate.

  • Detects fibroids, ovarian cysts, and other reproductive issues.

  • Thyroid and Breast:

  • Used for thyroid nodules and breast abnormalities.

  • Cardiac Ultrasound (Echocardiography):

  • Visualizes the heart’s structure, function, and blood flow.

  • Helps diagnose heart conditions.

  • Fetal Development:

  • Monitors fetal growth, position, and well-being during pregnancy13.

In summary, ultrasound is a versatile tool that provides valuable information for diagnosing and managing various diseases and conditions. Its safety, noninvasiveness, and real-time imaging make it suitable for a wide range of medical situations.


What MedSpine offers.

  1. Carotid Ultrasound: Common carotid, Internal carotid, External carotid, and the vertebral arteries on both sides. Doppler studies are also performed on each of the arteries to determine patency and the velocity of the flow through each vessel.

  2. Thyroid Ultrasound: Both the right and left lobes and the isthmus (center section). This study identifies the texture of each lobe and the presence of lesions such as nodules or cancer. A doppler study is also performed to identify adequate blood flow.

  3. Musculoskeletal Ultrasound: Performed on regions such as the shoulder cuff to identify the locations of potential tears or other anomalies.


When should I get an ultrasound?


Carotid Ultrasound should be performed on any patient who has one or more of the following symptoms: Dizziness, Loss of balance, History of cerebrovascular issues such as stroke or TIA, Vertigo, or Tinnitus (Ringing in one or both ears)


Thyroid Ultrasound should be performed on anyone who has one or more of the following symptoms: Localized swelling in the neck, enlarged lymph nodes, known thyroid disorders, abnormal thyroid blood tests, or a known presence of thyroid nodules.


Musculoskeletal Ultrasound: should be performed on anyone who believes they had a shoulder injury or other muscular damage.


If you still have questions whether you should get an ultrasound, please call the office at 702-530-2225 to obtain more information with your particular circumstance.

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