Ultrasound Services

Orange County’s Advanced Ultrasound Imaging is at Hoag.

Game-changing medical innovations are being pushed to the forefront every day, and in few areas is that more true than medical imaging, including advancements in ultrasound technology.

Hoag is at the forefront of these groundbreaking techniques. From monitoring fetal development and allowing parents to see their child’s face long before birth, to doppler ultrasound techniques that give cardiologists a way to visualize blood flow through the heart and blood vessels as it happens, Hoag is leading the way.

Hoag is your partner in healing, offering the latest advancements in ultrasound imaging in Orange County. With eight convenient locations, we provide cutting edge ultrasound imaging near you. So don’t wait. Get the care you deserve, at Hoag.

What is Ultrasound Imaging?

Ultrasound imaging (AKA sonography or diagnostic medical sonography) is a diagnostic medical imaging method that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of tissues and other structures inside the body.

Unlike medical imaging tests that utilize radiation, ultrasound uses sound waves to create real-time images of soft tissues, internal organs, and other structures inside the body.

Other than when ultrasound images are being gathered through procedures like transvaginal ultrasound, transrectal ultrasound or endoscopic ultrasound, diagnostic ultrasound is non-invasive. It is generally considered painless and safe for most patients, including those who are pregnant.

What Medical Conditions Can Ultrasound Help Diagnose?

Ultrasound imaging is a very versatile diagnostic tool. It is commonly used to investigate a variety of conditions related to the abdominal and pelvic organs, the musculoskeletal system and vascular systems. An ultrasound scan can also play a crucial role in monitoring fetal development during pregnancy, ensuring the health and safety of both the mother and unborn baby.

How Does Ultrasound Imaging Work?

Basically, ultrasound works in roughly the same way as the sonar systems on submarines or echolocation utilized by bats.

During the procedure, an ultrasound source sends high-frequency sound waves through the tissues. The ultrasound machine detects the waves reflected back by structures inside the body, sort of the way light might be reflected back to your eyes from an object in a well-lit room. This information is then used by the ultrasound unit to create detailed images of those structures.

What Are The Different Types of Ultrasound Scans?

Specific types of diagnostic ultrasound examinations include:

Prenatal ultrasound (AKA obstetric ultrasound or fetal ultrasound), which allows obstetricians to see through the tissues of the body and amniotic fluid to monitor fetal health and development. Newer three dimensional ultrasound techniques are so precise they can even make out the facial features of an unborn baby.

Breast ultrasound, which allows physicians to investigate lumps and other issues inside breast tissue

Abdominal ultrasound, which is generally performed from outside the abdomen through the skin. An abdominal ultrasound scan can help diagnose a variety of health care conditions involving the organs inside the abdomen, including abdominal pain and medical issues with blood flow, the stomach, heart, intestines, thyroid gland and other tissues.

Transrectal ultrasound, an imaging test which involves inserting an ultrasound source into the rectum

Doppler Ultrasound, which is used to create images of blood flowing through organs, blood vessels and other tissues

Ophthalmic ultrasound imaging tests, which are use sound waves to create images of the eyes and eye-related structures like blood vessels

Transesophageal echocardiogram, which allows physicians to get clearer images of the heart and blood flow through it by inserting an ultrasound source into the esophagus

Transvaginal ultrasound, a form of pelvic ultrasound that utilizes an small ultrasound probe that is inserted into the vagina to deliver ultrasound energy. In addition to imaging during pregnancy, transvaginal ultrasound can be helpful imaging internal structures like the uterus, cervix and other tissues.

Ultrasound-guided biopsy, which uses live, moving images produced through ultrasound to precisely guide the instrument being used to collect a tissue sample from inside the body

How Is An Ultrasound Scan Performed?

There are several different types of diagnostic ultrasound, and each is performed in its own way.

During a standard ultrasound scan performed from outside the body, a trained healthcare provider applies a thin layer of gel on the patient’s skin. This gel helps the ultrasound source glide over the skin and keeps air from intruding between the probe and the skin, assisting in the transmission of ultrasound waves through the tissues while ensuring the ultrasound scan captures high-quality images.

In the case of most ultrasound scans, once the gel has been applied, a device called an ultrasound probe (AKA a transducer) is then moved over body. This probe, which is connected to the ultrasound machine, emits high frequency sound waves that travel into the body and reflect off tissues. The reflected waves are captured by the ultrasound device, which then translates them into images displayed on a computer screen.

In general, ultrasound tests are non-invasive. However, certain procedures requiring ultrasound exams involve the ultrasound source being inserted through a body opening.

These include transvaginal ultrasound imaging, which utilizes a probe inserted into the vagina, and transesophageal echocardiogram, a type of ultrasound scan that involves inserting an ultrasound probe into the esophagus to get clearer images of the heart.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is Ultrasound Better Than Other Imaging Tests?

Ultrasound stands out as a diagnostic procedure because it offers precise, real-time images of organs and tissues inside the body, allowing health care providers to observe the movement of internal structures.

An ultrasound exam is also considered safer than other types of imaging because diagnostic ultrasounds don’t rely on radiation. This makes ultrasound especially good for monitoring pregnancies, ensuring the well-being of both the mother and the fetus.

Are There Any Potential Side Effects or Complications of Ultrasound Imaging?

Ultrasound is considered a safe procedure with basically no known risks. However, like any medical procedure, the safety of ultrasound depends on its proper use.

What Do I Need To Do To Prepare For An Ultrasound?

Preparation for most ultrasound exams varies depending on the type of examination. For example, in some procedures involving the pelvic area, ultrasound exams require patients to have a full bladder to help make sure the images are clear and detailed.

No matter which type of ultrasound exam you are having, the best advice is to always follow the specific instructions given to you by your healthcare provider before the procedure.

What’s the Difference Between a Sonogram and Ultrasound?

While the terms are often used interchangeably, a sonogram refers to the actual image produced during an ultrasound exam, whereas ultrasound (also called sonography) usually refers the image-producing method itself.

Does Ultrasound Involve Radiation or Radioactive Substances?

No, ultrasound does not involve radiation. It uses sound waves to produce images, making it different and potentially safer than other imaging methods like X-rays that rely on radiation.

How Long Does It Take To Complete An Ultrasound?

The duration of an ultrasound can vary based on the type of examination. Some might take just a few minutes, while others, especially more detailed scans, can take several hours.

Is Ultrasound Safe For Every Patient?

Yes, ultrasound is generally considered safe for all patients, including those who may be immunocompromised and pregnant women. One reason why ultrasound imaging is considered so safe is because it doesn’t use radiation to create images, making it a preferred choice for many medical imaging needs.

Can Ultrasound Hurt a Fetus?

Ultrasound has been used around the world for decades to monitor pregnancies, and there’s no evidence to suggest that the sound waves involved can harm a fetus or impact fetal development in any way. If you have concerns about any medical procedure during pregnancy, however, be sure to talk about them with your doctor.


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