Why An Ultrasound Is Used For So Much More Than Just Pregnancies

Posted on: 28 August 2020

When most people think of an ultrasound, their first instinct is to assume that is related to pregnancy. That is not a bad guess since a lot of pregnant women do get ultrasounds throughout their term, but that is not the only thing that ultrasounds are used for. In fact, pregnancy wouldn't even make up the majority of cases in which an ultrasound is used. There are far more common injuries and conditions that use an ultrasound for clarity. Here is a bit more of a deep dive into an ultrasound and what you can expect if you get scheduled in for one.

How Does It Work?

An ultrasound works by emitting sound waves imperceptible to the human ear that then vibrate around the body before returning to the instrument and providing an accurate outline of what they came into contact with. This works in much the same way a submarine's radar works; however, with an ultrasound, it mainly works for soft tissue such as organs, muscles and tendons. That is because X-rays are used to map the denser parts of the human body like your bones and teeth. Basically an ultrasound is the least invasive way to get the best information about your organs and is used as opposed to colonoscopy or something similar. 

Why Would You Need It?

An ultrasound may be ordered by your GP for a number of reasons, ranging from a muscular injury to something more serious, like a ruptured spleen. They are also commonly used instead of options that use radiation (such as an X-Ray) or strong magnets (such as an MRI), which means that there is virtually no risk involved. Often an ultrasound is ordered because the patient, in this case, you, is complaining about an unknown source of pain in their organs or muscles. The ultrasound is simply a diagnostic tool used to provide information to help ease your pain.

Do You Need To Prepare?

There is no real need to prepare, other than to try not to eat in the lead up to your ultrasound as the food can disrupt the readings and imply something is there that shouldn't be. On the day just wear loose clothing and be prepared to have a sort of gel-like substance applied to the area of the body where the ultrasound will be placed. Most ultrasound appointments are over quickly, so you should have results fairly soon and not have to wait days on end like with many other medical tests.