Ultrasound – Sound that is at a frequency higher than humans can hear.
Ultrasound imaging (sonography) uses high-frequency sound waves to view inside the body. Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can also show movement of the body’s internal organs as well as blood flowing through the blood vessels. Unlike X-ray imaging, there is no ionizing radiation exposure associated with ultrasound imaging.
In an ultrasound exam, a transducer (probe) is placed directly on the skin or inside a body opening. A thin layer of gel is applied to the skin so that the ultrasound waves are transmitted from the transducer through the gel into the body. The ultrasound image is produced based on the reflection of the waves off of the body structures. The strength (amplitude) of the sound signal and the time it takes for the wave to travel through the body provide the information necessary to produce an image.
What’s the problem?
Ultrasound imaging is a medical tool that can help a physician evaluate, diagnose and treat medical conditions.
- Ask – What types of imaging do medical professionals need to assist with the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that are not visible from outside the patient’s body?
- Imagine – What would the inside of a body look like? How could that be “seen” and recorded? Can these images be created without the use of harmful x-rays? What other forms of radiation are available to penetrate body tissue without harming it?
- Design, Build – Ultrasound imaging is based on non-ionizing radiation, so it does not have the same risks as X-rays or other types of imaging systems that use ionizing radiation.
- Improve – Because they are medical devices, ultrasound imaging equipment must also comply with the medical device regulations. Ultrasound imaging has been used for over 20 years and has an excellent safety record.
- Ultrasonic sensor – A sensor which emits ultrasound and then detects any ultrasound that returns.