Everything you need to know about different types of ultrasonography

Everything you need to know about different types of ultrasonography

6 October, 2017

Ultrasonography (ultrasound) is a diagnosis method using ultrasounds, which is non invasive and does not use ionizing radiation, and it can be performed repeatedly, upon necessity.

Types of ultrasonography

Echocardiography – imaging technique based on the application of ultrasound, designed for the inspection of the heart. It allows the evaluating the structure and function of the cord, as well as detecting cardiac illnesses. It does not need preliminary preparation.

Ultrasound of the fetus heart – diagnosis method which allows the evaluation of the structure and the function of the cord, with the purpose to detect anomalies, which can be extremely important for the health of the fetus.  It does not need preliminary preparation and the minimum term for performing the ultrasound is 21-22 weeks of pregnancy.

Duplex (Doppler) ultrasound of brachiocephalic (extra cranial) vessels. The advantage of this ultrasound is the combination of the two dimensional ultrasound with spectral analysis of the blood flow and the color Doppler ultrasound. This real time diagnosis method of the blood vessel and its walls allows the detection of atheromatous plaques and the evaluation of the hemodynamics of the blood flow. Therefore we have the possibility to choose the subsequent treatment tactic – conservative or surgical. It does not need preliminary preparation.

Ultrasound of the thyroid (color Doppler)

This investigation allows us to evaluate the size, structure, presence of nodules and tumors of the thyroid, the situation of the parathyroid, evaluation of regional lymphadenopathies. Also, it includes the evaluation of the vascular patterns. It does not need preliminary preparation.

Note: Medpark uses the TIRADS classification of the thyroid nodules which determines the necessity to perform puncture of the thyroid.

Ultrasound of the mammary gland (2D in gray-scale + vascular Doppler)

It is used for the investigation of the structure and vascular patterns of the mammary gland for detecting nodular formations according to BI-RADS classification, for confirming clinical and mammography data. It does not need preliminary preparation.

Ultrasound of the abdominal organs (abdominal organs + kidneys)

The ultrasound of the abdominal organs allows determining the dimensions and the structure of the internal organs (liver, pancreas, gallbladder, spleen and kidneys), for highlighting and detecting certain changes and pathologies. It is performed on an empty stomach, or 3-4 hours after meals. If the investigation also includes the ultrasound of the pelvic organs, then it covers the investigation of the urinary bladder and the prostate in men, in women – of the urinary bladder, uterus and ovaries. The urinary bladder needs to be full. The ultrasound of the pelvic organs in women can be performed also transvaginally, offering more detailed and exact information about the internal genital organs. This method does not need preliminary preparation.

Ultrasound of the joints

This method of investigation makes it possible to identify hip joint pathologies in children in the first year of life. Making ultrasound hip joints in time will help identify the problem, start treatment in the early stages of the disease - and get the best results with maximum comfort for mother and child. This investigation is recommended in the first 2-3 months of life, with subsequent dynamic monitoring when required. This method of ultrasound examination makes it possible to detect the presence of ossification nuclei, which occur at the age of 3-6 months. The absence of the ossification nucleus in 6 months and over - is a violation of bone formation. This extremely important information allows pediatricians and neonatologists to choose the right treatment tactic and monitor child development. Investigations of other joints, such as the knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and joints of the hand, ankle and foot, are performed in both adults and children. The method of investigation is very informative, with the possibility to perform functional tests, it allows to highlight inflammatory, metabolic, age, posttraumatic changes.

Ultrasound of the soft tissues

Ultrasound examination of soft tissues is one of the most informative methods for diagnosing various pathological or tumoral structures on the body, such as hemangiomas, lipomas, as well as trauma and inflammatory processes. This type of ultrasound scan is used to check the health of the neck, face, abdomen and other parts of the body. Also, with this investigation, we evaluate the skin and subcutaneous layer, adipose tissue, superficial lymph nodes, inguinal and femoral hernias, and muscles, allowing us to evaluate structures that are at a depth of up to 4-5 cm. This method allows examination of traumatized tissues. It does not require training.

Duplex (Doppler) ultrasound of the portal system

This basic method is used for the diagnosis of portal hypertension. It allows us to evaluate the situation and the hemodynamic of the portal vein and its branches, of the splenic vein, as well as the dimensions of the liver and spleen and the evaluation of the portosystemic shunts. Also, it allows the detection of free fluid in the abdominal cavity. The investigation is conducted on an empty stomach and it needs preliminary preparation: during 1-2 days the patient needs to take medications for reducing bloating and medications containing ferments. It is necessary to exclude foods which provoke bloating, like: raw fruits and vegetables, cabbage, beans, sparkling water.

Duplex (Doppler) ultrasound of the vessels (brachiocephalic, arteries and veins of the limbs, of the abdomen) is an imagistic examination which determines the situation of the blood vessels – of the lumen and its walls, and it assesses the spectral analysis of the blood flow.

  • The examined areas of the body are covered by a conductive gel and the probe moves on the exterior, following the direction of the blood vessels – at level of the legs, arms, abdomen and neck.
  • Examination does not need any preparation if it is performed on the vessels of the upper, lower limbs or on brachiocephalic vessels.
  • For the duplex (Doppler) ultrasound in the abdominal area the patient needs to follow a diet (no milk, legumes, raw vegetables and fruits), during a few days prior to the investigation, in order to avoid intestinal gas. For some patients it is necessary to take medication which decreases bloating and medication containing ferments.
  • The doctor offers the result after finishing the examination. There are no contraindications.

Pregnancy ultrasound

The prenatal screening of the pregnancy is an evaluation of the pregnancy via ultrasound and biochemical tests of the blood for the detection of fetal anomalies and chromosomal pathologies.

  • In the 1st trimester of the pregnancy the ultrasound is performed at 11-13 weeks and 5 days of amenorrhea (the following aspects are evaluated: craniocaudal length, nuchal translucency, nasal bones, Doppler evaluation of the venous duct, urinary bladder, echogenic fetal bowel and others) and the biochemical screening represented by the double test (through which the values of some pregnancy proteins PAPP-A and FREE BHCG in the maternal blood are evaluated). These values, together with the nuchal translucency and maternal factors, can detect the Down syndrome in up to 95% of cases.
  • In the 2nd trimester of pregnancy ultrasound and biochemical screenings are conducted, represented by the Triple Test: blood test, which measures the alpha-fetoprotein values, the unconjugated estriol and the BHCG in the maternal blood within the weeks 15-21 (optimal during the 16-17 weeks of pregnancy). The levels of these elements can detect the Down syndrome in 60-70% of cases and neural tube defects. The screening ultrasound in the 2nd trimester (18-22 weeks of pregnancy) detects fetal malformations, measurement of the fetus size, the situation of the placenta, the amniotic fluid.
  • In the 3rd trimester of the pregnancy (28-32 weeks of pregnancy) the ultrasound is performed for the evaluation of the amniotic fluid, the situation of the placenta, the malformations of the fetus, the size of the fetus, the functional state of the fetus.