July 3, 2008 at 3:48 PM CDT - Updated June 30 at 11:23 PM
ULTRASOUND involves the use of high-frequency sound waves to create images of organs and systems within the body.
ALTERNATIVE NAME: Sonogram
An ultrasound machine creates images that allow various organs in the body to be examined. The machine sends out high-frequency sound waves, which reflect off body structures. A computer receives these reflected waves and uses them to create a picture. Unlike with an x-ray, there is no ionizing radiation exposure with this test.
The test is done in the ultrasound or radiology department. You will be lying down for the procedure. A clear, water based conducting gel is applied to the skin over the area being examined to help with the transmission of the sound waves. A handheld probe called a transducer is then moved over the area being examined. You may be asked to change position so that other areas can be examined.