Medical science is, in a word miraculous. Simply put, the technological breakthroughs that have led us to where we are today are nothing short of astounding. Even the simplest procedures, those that we take for granted and never give a second thought, are incredible feats of science and engineering. Sonography, sometimes called ultrasonography, is a perfect example of that fact. Almost everyone is well aware of sonography and what it can do for use, but very few people understand the basic principles behind how it works. While it isn’t brain surgery, sonography is nonetheless very incredible, and just a brief overview of how it works will likely leave you very impressed.
Basically, sonography works by sending sound waves through your body. Those sound waves react to the tissues, bones, organs, and even the blood within your body. The sonography equipment reads those reactions and uses them to generate an image. It begins by simply sending the image through your body. The ultrasound machine usually sends out bursts of sound at anywhere from two to eighteen million Hertz. It does this through a transducer, which is normally nothing more than a wand passed over the skin. In some cases, such as prostate scans, a probe may need to be inserted into a bodily orifice.
Once the sound waves enter your body they do what any other sound wave would do – bounce off your organs, tissue, bones, and blood. This is nothing more than an echo, and the transducer that sends out the sounds also receives the returning echoes from within your body. The density of each organ affects how the echo is sent back. The transducer checks for how long it takes the echo to return, how strong it is, and the phase array. This information is then processed by the ultrasound machine and is turned into a visual image of the tissue.
An ultrasound technician isn’t qualified to diagnose any problems within the ultrasound. While he or she can usually identify the sex of an unborn baby, medical diagnosis is left to your physician. Because of this, the images that are created from the ultrasound are recorded or captured and then printed out and stored. This way the physician can review your scans and determine if any problems are present. The entire process may be basic science, but it truly is a perfect example of what the wonders of modern medicine can offer us.