Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves exposing part of the body to high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultrasound exams do not use ionizing radiation (as used in x-rays). Ultrsound imaging is a non-invasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat a variety of medical conditions.
A sonographer perfoms the test by applying a warm gel to the skin and then placing a transducer above the anatomic structure to be studied. This sends short pulses of ultrsound waves through the body and as the transducer is moved around an image of various organ (such as gallbladder, liver, pancreas, kidneys and spleen) appears on a television monitor. Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.