Ultrasound/Ultrasonography is defined as an imaging technique that is used in medical settings to capture images and detect motions using very high-frequency sound waves and their reflections. Ultrasound machines are used in hospitals to predict the due dates of babies. Additionally, ultrasound is used to capture images of soft body tissues such as the bladder, pancreas, and the liver, which allows sound waves to penetrate through them. In this manner, ultrasound can be used as part of the medical procedures for detecting abnormalities in these and other body organs.

Some ultrasound equipment present two-dimensional images while others display three-dimensional images. The points explained below discuss two of the most common types of ultrasound and how they work.

Doppler Ultrasound

The Doppler ultrasound machine works on the principle of the Doppler effect. Doppler effect is the variation of the frequency of a wave, especially a sound wave, in relation to an observer who is moving relative to the wave. The ultrasound machine borrows this analogy because when the object under imaging is moving, the frequency of the waves that are reflected back to the source also changes.

If for example, the object is moving away from the source, the frequency of the reflected waves decreases. On the contrary, when the object moves towards the source, the frequency of the reflected waves increase. The rate of change in frequency depends upon the rate at which the object is changing position. In essence, the Doppler ultrasound is used to measure the speed at which objects are moving. It is primarily used to measure the flow rate of blood through major arteries as well as the heart.

3D Ultrasound Imaging

Initially, the ultrasound machines that were used provided two-dimensional images. However, as technology advanced, ultrasound machines that can capture three-dimensional images were developed. Three-dimensional ultrasound imaging devices essentially capture two-dimensional pictures from several angles. The two-dimensional images are then combined using specialized computer software to produce three-dimensional images, which are easier to interpret.

In cases where probes are used on the surface of the body, they are moved across the surface to capture images from different angles. On the other hand, when the probes of the machine are inserted in the body, they are rotated to capture the different perspectives of the object. The three-dimensional ultrasound imaging is used to examine the growth patterns of the fetus as well as in the early detection of cancerous cells.

Down to specifics, there’s an advanced ultrasound imaging device called the sonosite ultrasound, which is more powerful and portable. The striking advantages of this machine are that it is small in size, making it convenient for use in different applications. The device is not complicated to operate, and it has exceptional image processing capabilities. Since the machine is portable and small in size, it has become more comfortable and convenient for doctors and medical practitioners to provide personal care to patients outside their examination offices. On top of that, the Sonosite machine is also quite affordable.

Ultrasound machines are very vital in hospitals and imaging facilities. These machines help in the effective diagnosis and treatment of disorders that would have required medical operations. They are also cost-effective in that they save a lot of time for doctors and surgeons when it comes to examinations that help pinpoint the exact location of abnormalities in organs and body systems.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "Different Types of Ultrasound and How it Works," in Medicalopedia, April 14, 2019, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/7401/different-types-of-ultrasound-and-how-it-works/].