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Ultrasound Explained- Sound we can’t hear!

An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the inside of the body. It is suitable for use during pregnancy.

Ultrasound scans, or sonography, are safe because they use sound waves or echoes to make an image, instead of radiation.

Ultrasound scans are used to evaluate fetal development, and they can detect problems in the liver, heart, kidney, or abdomen. They may also assist in performing certain types of biopsy.

The image produced is called a sonogram.

Here are some key points about ultrasound scans. More detail is in the main article.

  1. Ultrasound scans are safe and widely used.

  2. They are often used to check the progress of a pregnancy.

  3. They are used for diagnosis or treatment.

  4. No special preparation is normally necessary before an ultrasound scan.

  5. Most ultrasound examinations are done using an ultrasound device outside your body, though some involve placing a device inside your body.

How does it capture an image?

Ultrasound will travel through blood in the heart chamber, for example, but if it hits a heart valve, it will echo, or bounce back.

The denser the object the ultrasound hits, the more of the ultrasound bounces back.

This bouncing back, or echo, gives the ultrasound image its features. Varying shades of gray reflect different densities.

Clothing and personal items

Wear loose clothing to your ultrasound appointment. You may be asked to remove jewelry during your ultrasound, so it’s a good idea to leave any valuables at home.

Transesophageal echocardiogram. A transducer, inserted into your esophagus, obtains heart images. It’s usually done while you are sedated.

A typical ultrasound exam takes from 30 minutes to an hour.

Newborn infants

The sonographer can perform an ultrasound scan on a newborn by placing the probe on the fontanelle, the soft spot on the top of the skull.

As the fontanelle grows smaller in time, the quality of the images becomes poorer.

Doppler sonography shows the fetal heartbeat. It can help the doctor detect signs of abnormalities in the Heart.


Most types of ultrasound are noninvasive, and they involve no ionizing radiation exposure. The procedure is believed to be very safe.

However, since the long-term risks are not established, unnecessary “keepsake” scans during pregnancy are not encouraged. Ultrasound during pregnancy is recommended only when medically needed.


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