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Diagnostic Ultrasound (sonography)

Diagnostic Ultrasound (Sonography)

Medical sonography (ultrasonography) is an ultrasound-based diagnostic medical imaging technique used to visualize muscles, tendons, and many internal organs, their size, structure and any pathological lesions with real time tomographic images. DMI scans are performed by Consultant Radiologists.

Ultrasound has been used to image the human body for at least 50 years. It is one of the most widely used diagnostic tools in modern medicine. As currently applied in the medical environment, ultrasound poses no known risks to the patient. Sonography is generally described as a “safe test” because it does not use ionizing radiation.

Scans routinely conducted are cardiac, renal, liver and gallbladder. Other common applications include musculo-skeletal imaging of muscles, ligaments and tendons, ophthalmic ultrasound (eye) scans and superficial structures such as testicle, thyroid, salivary glands and lymph nodes. Because of the real time nature of ultrasound, it is often used to guide interventional procedures such as fine needle aspiration or biopsy of masses for cytology or histology testing in the breast, thyroid, liver, kidney, lymph nodes, muscles and joints.

Ultrasound scanners have different Doppler-techniques to visualize arteries and veins. The most common is colour doppler or power doppler. By using pulsed wave doppler or continuous wave doppler blood flow velocities can be calculated.

For more information visit NHS.UK: Ultrasound Scans

A DMI ultrasound examination is performed in a dedicated ultrasound room.

What does it consist of? 

  • You may be asked to remove some or all of your clothes (those over the area of interest), a gown will be provided.
  • The consultant radiologist drapes a cloth over any exposed areas that are not needed for the exam.
  • The consultant radiologist applies a mineral oil-based jelly to your skin — this jelly eliminates air between the probe and your skin to help pass the sound waves into your body.
  • He/she passes the probe over your skin to obtain the required images.
  • You may be asked to change positions to get better looks at the area of interest.
  • After the images have been acquired and measurements taken, the data is stored on a PACS system for reporting.
  • The ultrasound gel is removed.
  • You get dressed.
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