An ultrasound exam is a safe diagnostic procedure that uses very-high-frequency sound waves to produce an image of many of the internal structures of the body. Machines have improved since the test was originally developed in the late 1950's, resulting in images of outstanding detail and clarity.
Why have an ultrasound exam instead of an X-ray or CT scan? Ultrasound uses sound waves, not X-rays. Multiple studies have shown that these sound waves are harmless and may be used with complete safety, even on pregnant women, where CT or X-rays would be inappropriate. In some cases, either CT or ultrasound could be used to establish a diagnosis, but ultrasound exams are typically quicker and less expensive. A physician will order the best kind of exam for individual patients.
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Last updated: 01-Jan-00