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What is an ultrasound?
Ultrasonography, which is sometimes called sonography, uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Ultrasounds are used to view internal organs as they function, and to assess blood blow through various vessels. Ultrasound procedures are often used to examine many parts of the body such as the abdomen, breasts, female pelvis, prostate, scrotum, thyroid and parathyroid, and the vascular system. During pregnancy, ultrasounds are performed to evaluate the development of the fetus.

How are ultrasounds performed?
Ultrasounds may be done on an outpatient basis, or as part of inpatient care. Although each hospital may have specific protocols in place, generally, an ultrasound procedure follows this process:

1.A gel-like substance is smeared on the area of the body to undergo the ultrasound (the gel acts as a conducer).

2.Using a transducer, a tool that sends ultrasound waves, the ultrasound is sent through the patient's body.

3.The sound from the transducer is reflected off structures inside the body, and the information from the sounds is analyzed by a computer.

4.The computer then creates a picture of these structures on a television screen. The moving pictures can be recorded on film videotape.

5.There are no confirmed adverse biological effects on patients or instrument operators caused by exposures to ultrasound