Diagnostic ultrasound, also called sonography or diagnostic medical sonography, is an imaging method that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures within your body. The images can provide valuable information for diagnosing and treating a variety of diseases and conditions.

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

Ultrasound is a popular cost effective imaging tool.
High frequency sound waves travel from the ultrasound probe through human tissue. Some of the sound waves bounce back to the transducer. This reflected sound is used by a computer to form the ultrasound image. There is no radiation dose associated with the ultrasound scan.

Why it's done

Ultrasound is used for many reasons, including to:

  • View the uterus and ovaries during pregnancy and monitor the developing baby's health
  • Diagnose gallbladder disease
  • Evaluate blood flow
  • Guide a needle for biopsy or tumor treatment
  • Examine a breast lump
  • Check your thyroid gland
  • Detect genital and prostate problems
  • Assess joint inflammation (synovitis)
  • Evaluate metabolic bone disease