What is an Ultrasound Scan?
Although ultrasound waves do not pass through air (and therefore not through normal air-filled lungs), ultrasound scanning can be used to examine abnormal chests when a disease resulting in fluid build-up or a mass (lump) is present. As with the abdomen, any abnormal areas seen on the scan can be sampled using ultrasound guidance, where appropriate. In addition, ultrasound is the diagnostic imaging technique of choice for examination of the heart, allowing the heart chambers and valves to be seen in great detail, as well as enabling blood flow through the heart chambers to be assessed. Ultrasound of the heart (echocardiography) is usually carried out by the cardiology service at Willows.
As the eye contains mostly jelly and no bones or air, ultrasound is ideal for demonstrating changes within the eyeball itself. Samples can be taken from the eye and surrounding structures under ultrasound guidance.
An ultrasound image of an eye showing a cataract in the lens (c). The cornea (a) and the fluid/jelly-filled segments of the eye (b and d) are also visible.
Ultrasound is also used to assess the soft tissues of the limbs, such as muscles or ligaments. Torn or injured soft tissues, for example, tendons, can be assessed with ultrasound and healing can also be followed by repeating the scan at intervals.
Ultrasound image of an abnormal biceps tendon (arrow) with fluid around it (showing as black)