Ultrasounds: one important type of diagnostic equipment

Diagnostic imaging can play an important role in both diagnosing and treating medical conditions. For instance, you may find some of this equipment used in physical therapy offices as a resource to help reduce inflammation for patients prior to beginning their rehab sessions. Depending on the injury and symptoms an individual is experiencing, clinicians may solicit the use of CT or MRI scans, ultrasounds, X-rays and/or nuclear medicine scans.1 In general, these tests put no strain or discomfort on the patients, and in some cases are used to help reduce pain.

Ultrasound is perhaps the most well-known type of diagnostic imaging. These kinds of tests may be used during pregnancy, to help diagnose different medical conditions, provide pain relief during rehabilitation or offer assistance during different medical procedures. Since there are so many different uses, it comes as no surprise that there are various types of ultrasounds:

  • Doppler: This type of ultrasound helps to improve blood flow through the vessels.
  • Bone sonography: This is used to confirm diagnosis of osteoporosis.
  • Transvaginal: Doctors who want to look at a woman's uterus and ovaries can use a transducer wand to conduct a transvaginal ultrasound.
  • Transrectal: A patient who may be suffering from medical issues related to the prostate will require a transrectal ultrasound for diagnosis.
  • Echocardiogram: This ultrasound offers a look at the heart, and comes in a transesophageal version that goes through the esophagus to look at the organ.
  • 3-D and 4-D: A 4-D ultrasound shows 3-D test in motion, offering health care professionals with a dimensional view of the area.2

What an ultrasound does
When ultrasounds are used during pregnancy, they help to produce an imagine of the fetus so that the doctor can determine the due date and then check for any visible abnormalities. In physical therapy, the ultrasound helps to create heat within the body by way of soundwaves.3 This is beneficial for swelling and inflammation to an affected joint that is being treated with rehab. As blood flow increases to the joint, a PT will be able to loosen tissue and muscles in the damaged part of the body with stretching. From there, patients will likely undergo strength training exercises.

Additionally, ultrasounds that are used as diagnostic supplies may be used on the liver, gallbladder, ovaries, testes, breasts, thyroid gland or lymph nodes. In these instances, a clinician may look for any lumps in the area. An ultrasound can help to determine whether or not that abnormality is a cyst or tumor.4 Other parts of of the body that these devices may be used on include eyes, skin and blood vessels. Until the age of 18 months, ultrasounds may also be used on children to detect any growth issues of the hips, spine and brain.

Ultrasounds are just one of many amazing diagnostic instruments available from Medex Supply. Health care professionals can turn to this online medical supply store for diagnostic instruments and other medical and surgical supplies.

1 National Institutes of Health, "Diagnostic imaging" December 3, 2013
2 WebMD, "What is an ultrasound? Types of ultrasound" May 29, 2013
3 ABC News, "How is ultrasound used for pain treatment during physical therapy?" August 18, 2008
4 National Health Service, "What ultrasound scan is used for" November 11, 2011

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