Ultrasound Or Sonography In Pregnancy | How Does It Work?
Recently Updated On: June 16th, 2018
Sonography Or Ultrasound In Pregnancy
How Does It Work?
Every woman waits for the time when she gets to see the baby through ultrasound. The joy of the first sight of your little one is inexplicable.
Also, at the same time, most women are unaware of this term and just go to the clinic for some “so-called tests” and come back with some prints.
Before you head in for these tests or what is called ultrasound tests, let’s explore in-depth what is ultrasound or sonography and how ultrasound works during pregnancy?
What Is Ultrasound?
Going by the definition of ultrasound, it is the sound or other vibrations having an ultrasonic frequency, particularly as used in medical imaging.
By this, it means that ultrasound, which is also sometimes referred to as sonography is the sound energy that has waves having a frequency higher than that of the normal human hearing range.
With the help of sonography, body parts are checked with the help of sound waves and are tested to see if there’s no problem with the tissues or the organs.
It is done with the help of sound waves only and no cuts or opening is made in the body. So you’ve pretty well got the answer to what is ultrasound.
How Does Ultrasound Work?
While most of you are aware of what ultrasound or sonogram is, many of you are scared of what you might have to go through when you go for an ultrasound.
It’s really nothing to worry about. We have explained below how does ultrasound work?
The sonography machine transmits the sound pulses in the body that are of a high frequency of 1-5 megahertz.
These sound pulses are transferred to the body using a transducer that appears like a microphone. Hence it’s also called sonogram machine.
The sound waves hit the tissue or the organ and then echo back.
These waves that are echoed or reflected back are put to the machine that displays the intensity, distance of the sound waves and then forms the 2-dimensional picture which is then analyzed by the doctor.
This is how the ultrasound or sonogram machine works.
When you head for the ultrasound test, there is a particular procedure that is always followed.
There is no out of the blue way to do an ultrasound test and only a doctor who’s an expert in this diagnosis can perform the test. So the ultrasound procedure is as such:
First of all, you will be asked to lie down and the body part on which the sonography has to be performed will be exposed towards the sonogram machine.
On this body part, a special lubricant is applied so that there is no problem in moving the transducers, which is the device that is used for the purpose of imaging.
With the help of this device, ultrasound waves are transmitted to the medium and then they echo back.
When the picture is echoed back it is then relayed to the sonogram machine that displays the result in the form of information.
The doctor thereafter cleans the lubricating gel and then checks for any complications in the organs. It is indeed a painless procedure and most sought after diagnosis method to ascertain any abnormalities.
By now you know that Ultrasound frequencies are higher than the upper audible limit of human hearing, so the ultrasound frequencies range from 2 MHz to approximately 15 MHz.
The higher is the frequency of these waves, the more easily they are absorbed and less penetrating they are. On the contrary, lower the frequency, the more easily they penetrate deep inside the body.
Therefore, for body structures that are superficial, high ultrasound frequency waves are only used as in that cases they don’t have to penetrate much deeper.
Disadvantages of Ultrasound:
Everything comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Sonography, while being the most used method for diagnosis also has some negative aspects.
The disadvantages of ultrasound are here below:
- In CT or MRI scan, the image quality or as we say the image resolution is better than ultrasound.
- In persons who are obese, the penetration is less and therefore this gives problems.
- If the sonographer or the doctor who performs the Sonography is not qualified or an expert then the quality of results may be disrupted.
- For the same reason as above, the interpretation will be difficult or most often biased.
- Sonography also doesn’t penetrate into bone and hence this makes the imaging really difficult.
Nonetheless, in spite of these disadvantages, ultrasound shall always remain the most sought-after diagnosing technique.
Why Is Sonography Test Done?
With a pretty well acquainted with this word now, people very often do get confused as to why is sonography test done.
Sonography test is done to do the diagnosis of body organs and tissues in order to ascertain if there’s any sort of abnormalities or not.
Sonography test is done to find out the cause lying behind any such complication so that the further course of action can be taken.
Sonography test of the heart is done to find out if there is any cardiac disease or not. It is also performed on blood vessels to know if everything is fine and there is no blockage.
Sonography test is done on pregnant women to know the development status of the fetus. Apart from these, abdominal sonography test is done to diagnose organs like spleen, liver, gallbladder, etc.
Basically, its purpose is to diagnose and know the underlying causes of any diseases or complications.
Ultrasound Test Cost:
The pregnancy sonography test cost in the US around $200-$300. Actually, this depends on where you get your ultrasound test and your insurance coverage.
In India, ultrasound test cost differs from city to city. However, the minimum cost in an Indian city is Rs.100.
While the maximum cost for ultrasound test in an Indian city is Rs. 4900. The sonography test cost in India varies between these upper and lower cost range only.
Different Types of Ultrasound Examinations :
You might have heard varied technical names for an ultrasound test. The different types of ultrasound examinations during pregnancy are:
- Pelvic Ultrasound Imaging: you might have several times come across the ultrasound imaging technique which is called pelvic ultrasound imaging. In pelvic ultrasound imaging done in women, uterus and ovaries are examined. Also, in a pregnant woman, the development and growth of the baby are examined. For pelvic sonography in men, prostate gland and bladder are examined.
- Abdominal Ultrasound Imaging: In this type of sonogram, all the internal organs are diagnosed. Liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys, etc. all the organs are examined. It checks if the blood flow is proper or not and also if there is no damage to the tissue because of any illness.
- Trans-Vaginal: this is the type of sonography exam whereby the ultrasound device is inserted in the vagina. Through this examination, we come to know about the cause that is behind the pelvic pain. This exam is very much performed like a typical gynecology exam and is obviously painless.
- Obstetrics Ultrasound Imaging: this type of ultrasound examination is specifically based on the pregnant woman. Sonogram of pregnancy use to examines the condition of the pregnant woman, and also the condition of the fetus or the embryo. Sonogram of pregnancy also used to examines if there are any abnormalities or complications in the pregnancy or not.
The above are the most common type of ultrasound examinations.
Sonogram vs Ultrasound:
When talking about the difference between the sonogram and ultrasound, often there is a lot of confusion going around.
These days both of these words might be used in place of one another but there is a difference between both of them when talking in technical terms.
Let’s draw out a demarcation between both. Here below is sonogram vs ultrasound.
A sonogram uses the device of ultrasound for its own purpose. This is to say that ultrasound is a process that produces the results in the form of images that are sonogram images.
While ultrasound is a procedure that diagnoses a particular organ or a particular problem and thereby gives end results in the form of sonogram images.