In the medical imaging arsenal, ultrasound has quickly become one of the most commonly ordered diagnostic tests performed each year.
That?s pretty amazing when you consider that the medical use of ultrasound was first developed in the late 1950s. Since that time, ultrasound has become the go-to test for a wide range of conditions ? not just pregnancy.
One of the distinct advantages of ultrasound is that it uses high frequency sound waves to capture images. People undergoing an ultrasound exam have zero radiation exposure. Further, because sound waves are used, we are able to capture more than just images. Think sounds and motion.
Clinical uses of ultrasound
Ultrasound can image a wide array of body structures, including muscles, tendons, blood vessels, and internal organs such as the thyroid, heart, gallbladder, liver and reproductive organs. Ultrasound can even capture images of blood flowing through the veins and arteries! It?s a technology that can uncover structural defects and pinpoint irregularities in function.
At Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI, ultrasound testing focuses primarily on abdominal studies, thyroid problems, pelvic exams and vascular studies, said sonographer Deb Withers, ?A lot of patients are in complete shock when they are sent for an ultrasound,? Withers said. ?They say ? an ULTRASOUND? Isn?t that for babies??
While ultrasound technology was first developed for obstetrical uses, today it can be employed in diagnosing a wide variety of conditions, including:
? Circulatory problems, such as peripheral artery disease, narrowing of the carotid arteries, venous insufficiency and varicose veins
? Follow-up to an abnormal mammogram
? Thyroid disease
? Conditions affecting the abdominal organs (liver, bladder, pancreas, gallbladder)
? Reproductive system (ovaries, uterine cysts and fibroids, testicles, prostate)
? Heart conditions, including valve disease and heart failure
? Issues with the reproductive organs, including cysts and cancer
Celebrating Rad Techs
Nov. 8 ? 15
On Nov. 8, 1895, William Conrad Roentgen discovered x-rays, giving doctors an incredibly powerful tool to diagnose and treat a wide variety of illnesses. From his discovery grew an arsenal of medical imaging modalities: x-ray, nuclear medicine, CT scan, MRI, PET scanning, DEXA scan and, by extension ultrasound.
We celebrate this discovery every year by celebrating the individuals ? radiology technologists regardless of their field of specialization ? who apply Roentgen?s discovery every day to advance the health of our patients and community. Thank you, Rad Techs for everything you do all year long!
Meet Deb Withers, Ultrasonographer
Deb Withers has been an ultrasound technologist for eight years. Originally from Ashland, Ky., Deb earned her bachelor?s degree in diagnostic medical sonography from Morehead State University. Through the course of her career, she?s had the opportunity to work in hospitals and physicians offices and has experienced the entire range of medical sonography.
In the eight years she?s been in practice, Deb has seen a dramatic improvement in the technology of ultrasound and what it is capable of achieving.
?Ultrasound is the most fascinating and challenging of the diagnostic modalities,? Deb says, ?because you are literally the ears and eyes of the doctor.? Scanning occurs in real time, with changing body structures, blood flowing, people breathing, digestion taking place, and so on. ?Performing an ultrasound exam requires the complete and total involvement of the ultrasongrapher, Deb says.
?The machine is not going to take the right picture for you. To be highly skilled, you have to know what?s going on and what image you need to capture to tell the story for the doctor.?
?If you don?t see the image and capture it, the doctor can?t see the image and diagnose the problem.?
As a result, the relationship between the physician and the technologist has to be very close. ?The doctor has to know they can trust me to get the right images every time.?
Deb, who has been with Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI Center for three years, is committed to caring for each patient on an individual basis, with specific needs and concerns. ?There?s not one single way to make someone feel better. It?s all the small ways we show compassion?smiling?listening?making someone as comfortable as possible,? Deb says. ?Over time, you learn to read people and to make them feel cared for? regardless of what is going on.
As a bodybuilder, Deb has a special appreciation for the human body and its inner workings. ?One of my favorite things is to feel healthy and strong,? Deb says, ?and that makes me even more empathetic to my patients. I understand that they are sick, that they don?t feel well, and I understand how important feeling well really is.?
Because ultrasound is sound based, it performs best when applied to solid organs and tissues, such as the liver. Organs that contain air or gas ? such as the intestine ? cannot be imaged using ultrasound.
?You know, the body tells a story,? Withers said, ?Ultrasound lets us hear and see the story so that we can appropriately diagnose and treat our patients.?
Lexington Diagnostic Center and Open MRI offers a wide range of diagnostic imaging exams, including ultrasound, nuclear medicine scans, and MRI. The cost of having a diagnostic exam performed at Lexington Diagnostic Center is less than one would pay at a hospital ? and a lot more convenient, too.
If your physician recommends any type of diagnostic imaging exam, consider having your test done with us. Our scheduling is quick and convenient, we have a Radiologist and Nurse in house and results are available within one business day. For more information, please call the office at (859) 278-7226. We are conveniently located in Lexington at 1725 Harrodsburg Road, Suite 100. We accept all major insurance.