Ultrasound is a non-invasive and safe procedure that uses sound waves to produce pictures of your body’s internal organs. Ultrasound is the preferred imaging method if you are pregnant.

How ultrasound works

During an ultrasound, a hand-held device called a transducer is placed on the skin and transmits high-frequency sound waves into the body. The sound waves are captured by a computer that produces real-time images of internal organs, as well as blood moving through your vessels.

Common uses for ultrasound

Your doctor may order an ultrasound if you have symptoms like pain, swelling or infection. Ultrasound is used to view your internal organs, including:

  • Heart and blood vessels
  • Liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas and kidneys
  • Thyroid and scrotum
  • Bladder, uterus, ovaries
  • Babies during pregnancy

Ultrasound can also be used to guide procedures like needle biopsies used in tests for cancer.

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