An ultrasound scan is a painless test that uses sound waves to create images of organs and structures inside your body. It is a very commonly used test. As it uses sound waves and not radiation, it is thought to be harmless. Doppler and duplex scans are used to visualize blood or fluids flowing through the body.
What is an ultrasound test used for?
It is used in many situations. The way the ultrasound bounces back from different tissues can help to determine the size, shape and consistency of organs, structures and abnormalities. So, it can:
- Help to monitor the growth of an unborn child, and check for abnormalities. An ultrasound scan is routine for pregnant women.
- Detect abnormalities of heart structures such as the heart valves. (An ultrasound scan of the heart is called an echocardiogram.)
- Help to diagnose problems of the liver, gallbladder (such as gallstones), pancreas, thyroid gland, lymph nodes, ovaries, testes, kidneys, bladder and breast. For example, it can help to determine if an abnormal lump in one of these organs is a solid tumor or a fluid-filled cyst.
-Detect abnormal widening of blood vessels (aneurysms).