What is an ultrasound?

Ultrasound, also known as sonography, or ultrasonography, is a diagnostic procedure that transmits high-frequency sound waves, inaudible to the human ear, through body tissues. The echoes are recorded and transformed into video or photographic images of the internal structures of the body.

Ultrasound images help in the diagnosis of a wide range of diseases and conditions. The idea for ultrasonography came from sonar technology, which makes use of sound waves to detect underwater objects.

Ultrasound is used to create images of soft tissue structures, such as the gall bladder, liver, heart, kidney, female reproductive organs -- and even of fetuses still in the womb. Ultrasound can also detect blockages in the blood vessels.

Ultrasound may be used with other diagnostic procedures or by itself.

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