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Diagnostic Ultrasound FAQs

What is a diagnostic ultrasound?
Diagnostic ultrasounds are also known as ultrasound imaging, ultrasound scanning or sonography. During this non-invasive procedure, high-frequency sound waves are used to produce pictures of various parts of your body. Ultrasounds are different from X-rays in that they do not use radiation, and in that ultrasound images can be viewed in real time. Ultrasounds can also capture movement, such as showing blood flowing through blood vessels or the movement of internal organs.
How are ultrasounds used?

Doctors use ultrasound results to diagnose conditions that are the root cause of symptoms such as pain, swelling and infection. They’re also used to:

  • help conduct needle biopsies or other procedures
  • obtain images of the breast and guide breast cancer biopsies
  • diagnose heart conditions and evaluate the damage caused by a heart attack
What can I expect during an ultrasound exam?
An ultrasound exam is usually quick and painless. A technologist will position you on the exam table and then apply a warm, water-based gel to your skin around the area that is being examined. The technologist will move a handheld device called a transducer over the specific area of your body to capture the images.