Ultrasound technology uses inaudible soundwaves to deliver superb images without the use of radiation. Ultrasound image quality has undergone dramatic improvement over the last several years.
Ultrasound is of particular use in the diagnosis of soft tissue conditions and as such, it is routinely used to evaluate the solid abdominal and pelvic organs, the breast, muscles, tendons and ligaments, as well as other small body parts, such as the thyroid gland and lymph nodes.
Since images are performed in real time, ultrasound is ideal for performing procedures under imaging guidance, such as a pain relieving injection, the treatment of tendon injuries as well as taking a small specimen of tissue for analysis, known as either a Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) or Biopsy.
(Vascular Ultrasound Imaging)
Ultrasound may also be used to visualise the arteries and veins of the limbs and the neck with the use of Doppler technology. As such, it can reliably detect narrowing of the arteries, varicose veins and blood clots.
Doppler ultrasound (also referred to as vascular diagnostic imaging) is a painless, non invasive means of measuring blood flow. For example Doppler ultrasound can detect problems with abnormal blood flow, where flow may be reduced in veins due to clot (thrombosis), known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Ultrasound can also detected narrowing (stenosis) of arteries due to conditions such as atherosclerosis (“hardening of the arteries”); common areas include the neck (carotid arteries) as well as the arteries of both lower limbs.
As ultrasound waves cannot penetrate bone and gas, ultrasound is not used to look inside a joint, bone or gas containing organs, such as the lungs or bowel. If these structures also require evaluation, then a CT scan or MRI may be more suitable.
As ultrasound does not use radiation, it is ideal for children, where it can be used to diagnose abnormally developed hips (acetabular dysplasia) which often causes a “clicky” hip or an asymmetric buttock fold.
Female Pelvic Ultrasound.
Female pelvic sonography is a specialised ultrasound examination focusing on the uterus, ovaries and endometrium (lining of the uterus). It is also used to assess the stage and health of a pregnancy.
As preparation may be required for a pelvic ultrasound, please call Melbourne Radiology Clinic on (03) 9667 1667 in advance for instructions.
Please enquire with Melbourne Radiology Clinic at the time of your appointment as to the availability of a female sonographer. If one is not available then it is our routine practise that a separate female staff member will act as a chaperone during the examination. Of course, you may elect to bring a friend/relative instead to act as a chaperone.
Referring doctors are welcome to discuss with our radiologists the imaging needs of their patients and whether ultrasound is suitable for their patient’s medical condition.