What is an ultrasound procedure?

About Me
Dealing with the Doctor

My name is Adrian and I am an old timer. The next time my birthday rolls around, I will be 71 years old. I still like to keep my mind active and learn new skills so I decided to ask my grandson about the internet and he taught me how to write this blog. This blog is about dealing with doctors. Over the years, I have had my fair share of appointments with the doctor and believe me, as I get older, they become more frequent as I have to manage various medical conditions. I hope you find my blog useful if you are unwell.


What is an ultrasound procedure?

7 March 2022
 Categories: Health & Medical , Blog

Most people will be familiar with an ultrasound procedure, normally in the context of someone being pregnant and a scan being used as a way of checking the health of the baby whilst it is still in the womb. The ultrasound can however be used for a much wider range of diagnostic purposes and has numerous advantages over more invasive methods of trying to diagnose various health problems.

What is an ultrasound?

An ultrasound examination involves two main parts, some water-based gel and a small device that is called a transducer. The gel, which is usually a bit cold and sticky, is wiped over a certain part of the body.

The transducer, which is a small handheld device, is a sort of scanner and hovers over the area of the body the gel has been applied to, to produce images which are then seen on a computer screen nearby. Traditionally the images were always two-dimensional and black and white, advanced technology means that they now can be seen in 3D, and often in colour.

The advantages of an ultrasound procedure are mainly that it is non-invasive, meaning there is no penetration of the body at all and can be used on virtually any adult or child to help assess a wide range of different health concerns.

An ultrasound works by identifying sound waves that come from a particular part of the body and then translating these waves into an image that is visible on a monitor. It is completely safe, does not use radiation and is normally pain-free, although it may feel slightly uncomfortable at times.

What is a vascular ultrasound?

Aside from assessing the health of a baby in the womb, the other main use of ultrasound is helping to diagnose problems in someone's circulatory system, i.e. changes to the blood flow in someone's body. This is normally thought of as blockages, such as clots, but it can also help show an increased blood flow in someone, which is normally a sign of an infection.

A vascular ultrasound is mainly used when there is some concern raised by an individual, sometimes after an operation, where there is a fear of organ damage. This can be initiated by undue levels of pain, an unnatural degree of swelling or recurring and unpleasant infection. The ultrasound will normally be used as a first-line method of trying to understand what the problems are, and how serious they are.

The results of the scan will be assessed by a radiologist, who is a specialised doctor, and depending upon these results, further tests may be needed, which may include more invasive methods needed to identify the underlying health issue


Deep vein thrombosis is perhaps the best example of where a vascular ultrasound would be used. Most people are aware of what a deep vein thrombosis is as the result of a lot of publicity around the problem for people who fly, as well as how serious a condition that it can be.

A deep vein thrombosis normally occurs when someone has been sitting still for too long in a fixed position, and the blood has not been able to circulate properly in the body, sometimes leading to a clot or blockage which can then have significant knock-on effects in terms of the individual's health.

For more information on an ultrasound, contact a professional near you.