Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves exposing part of the body to high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultrasound exams do not use ionizing radiation (as used in x-rays). Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels. Ultrasound imaging is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Conventional ultrasound displays the images in thin, flat sections of the body.
Advancements in ultrasound technology include:
- Three-dimensional (3-D) ultrasound that formats the sound wave data into 3-D images
- Four-dimensional (4-D) ultrasound is 3-D ultrasound in motion
- A Doppler ultrasound study may be part of an ultrasound examination. Doppler ultrasound is a special ultrasound technique that evaluates blood flow through a blood vessel, including the body's major arteries and veins in the abdomen, arms, legs and neck.
All of these techniques use different properties of radioactive elements to create an image.