Ultrasound - Modern Medical Imaging Technique at HCG Oncology


Ultrasound, or ultrasonography, uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of internal body structures. It is commonly used to visualize organs, tissues, and blood flow in real-time. Ultrasound imaging is non-invasive, painless, and does not involve radiation, making it a safe diagnostic tool.

What is an Ultrasound Scan?

An ultrasound scan, or sonography, is a diagnostic tool that uses high-frequency sound waves to develop real-time images of body structures. The ultrasound procedure is usually recommended during pregnancy and for patients who may be sensitive to radiation. Commonly observed medical uses of ultrasound include pregnancy monitoring, diagnosing conditions like gallstones or kidney stones, and guiding medical procedures such as biopsies or injections.

What are the Types of Ultrasound Scan?

Following are the various types of ultrasound scans:

Abdominal Ultrasound

Abdominal ultrasound visualizes organs like the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and kidneys. It aids in diagnosing conditions such as gallstones, liver diseases, kidney stones, and abdominal masses. It allows clinicians to evaluate the organs, detect abnormalities, and diagnose conditions affecting the abdominal organs.

Breast Ultrasound

Breast ultrasound provides images of the breast tissue. Ultrasound breast imaging is used with mammography for evaluating breast abnormalities, such as lumps, cysts, or areas of concern identified on a mammogram. Breast ultrasound helps distinguish between fluid-filled cysts and solid masses.

Renal Ultrasound

Renal ultrasound visualizes the kidneys and surrounding structures by producing real-time images of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. Renal ultrasound is commonly used to evaluate the size, shape, and position of the kidneys and abnormalities such as cysts, tumors, kidney stones, or blockages.

Pregnancy Ultrasound

A pregnancy ultrasound scan, or obstetric ultrasound, monitors fetal development during pregnancy. Pregnancy ultrasounds can provide valuable information about the fetus's growth, position, and overall health, as well as detect any abnormalities or complications.

Doppler Ultrasound

Doppler ultrasound is a specialized ultrasound that assesses blood flow through blood vessels. Doppler ultrasound detects abnormalities in blood flow, such as blockages, narrowing of vessels, or abnormal connections between arteries and veins.

3D Ultrasound

3D ultrasound is an advanced imaging tool that creates three-dimensional images of structures within the body using sound waves. Unlike traditional 2D ultrasound, which produces two-dimensional images, 3D ultrasound captures multiple slices of a structure and combines them to form a detailed, three-dimensional image. 3D ultrasound is used in various medical specialties, including cardiology, orthopedics, and oncology, to help diagnose and plan treatment.

4D Ultrasound

4D ultrasound, also known as dynamic 3D ultrasound, is an advanced imaging technique that adds the element of real-time motion to three-dimensional images. 4D ultrasound captures movement, allowing doctors to observe the real-time physiology of organs, tissues, or the developing fetus.

What is the Purpose of Ultrasound?

The doctors recommend ultrasound scanning to detect various conditions. The following are the different ultrasound purposes:

Diagnose Gallbladder disease

Ultrasound helps diagnose gallbladder disease, detect gallstones, assess gallbladder wall thickness, and evaluate gallbladder function. It identifies complications like cholecystitis or obstruction, ensuring timely intervention. It allows prompt diagnosis and effective management of gallbladder disorders for improved patient outcomes. Ultrasound for gallstones and other gallbladder disorders is reported to support accurate diagnoses.

Check Thyroid Gland

Thyroid ultrasound assesses the structure and function of thyroid glands and identifies nodules, cysts, and abnormalities. It measures gland size, assists in diagnosing thyroiditis, and guides biopsy procedures for nodules suspicious of malignancy.

Monitor the Uterus and Ovaries During Pregnancy

Ultrasound during pregnancy monitors the uterus and ovaries to ensure adequate fetal development and optimum maternal health. It tracks the growth, position, and well-being of the fetus. Uterine and ovarian ultrasounds also evaluate the uterus and ovaries for abnormalities.

Evaluate Blood Flow

Ultrasound evaluates blood flow using Doppler technology, measuring the blood's direction, velocity, and volume within vessels. It helps cardiologists diagnose vascular conditions such as thrombosis, stenosis, or aneurysms.

Assess Joint Inflammation (synovitis)

Ultrasound evaluates joint inflammation by examining real-time synovial thickening, effusion, and vascularity. It detects inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis or tendinitis, guiding treatment decisions.

Evaluate Metabolic Bone Disease

An ultrasound scan evaluates metabolic bone disease by measuring bone density and architecture and identifying abnormalities like osteoporosis or osteomalacia. It assesses bone strength, fracture risk, and response to treatment.

How does Ultrasound Work?

During an ultrasound scan, high-frequency sound waves are emitted into the body. As these sound waves travel through different tissues at different rates, they may partially be reflected, absorbed, or scattered. The echoes produced are detected by a transducer, and based on the distinct characteristics of these echoes, the machine creates an image of the scanned region. It is a safe and non-invasive imaging technique that is recommended for the detection and monitoring of various health conditions.

What are the Advantages of an Ultrasound Scan?

Following are some of the advantages of an ultrasound scan:


Ultrasound scans do not require incisions or injections, minimizing patient discomfort and the risk of complications.

Real-time Imaging

Ultrasound imaging provides immediate visualization, helping in dynamic assessments during procedures.

Safe for Fetal Imaging

Ultrasound imaging does not use ionizing radiation, making it safe for repeated use, including during pregnancy.

Dynamic Imaging of Soft Tissues

With ultrasound scans, it is possible to capture live, dynamic, or moving images of the soft tissues within the body. This feature of ultrasound helps visualize the function of the body part examined and obtain a deeper understanding of the internal issues.

Portable and Versatile

It can be used to image various organs and tissues, offering a wide range of diagnostic applications.

No Radiation Exposure

Ultrasound imaging does not involve the use of radiation. Since there is no exposure to radiation, it is a safe diagnostic procedure.

What Should You Expect When You Have an Ultrasound Scan?

Before Ultrasound

Before an ultrasound, the doctor may provide instructions regarding fasting, drinking water, or bladder filling for certain exams. The patients may need to wear loose, comfortable clothing and remove jewelry or metal objects that could interfere with imaging.

During Ultrasound

The patient is asked to lie still on the examination table during the procedure. The ultrasound gel is applied to the skin for sound wave transmission. As the transducer glides over the skin, it emits sound waves and captures echoes to create real-time images. The patient may need to change positions or hold their breath briefly for optimal imaging.

After Ultrasound

After an ultrasound, the patient can typically resume normal activities immediately. The gel will be wiped off. The results are interpreted by a radiologist or doctor and shared with the patient during a follow-up appointment.

What are the Risks Associated with Ultrasound?

Ultrasound usually has no risk. Ultrasound does not use radiation and is considered safe for different population groups, including pregnant women and infants. However, some limitations of ultrasound imaging are limited penetration, potential for misinterpretation, dependency on the operator's expertise, and discomfort in some patients due to probe pressure.

Why Should You Choose HCG for Ultrasound Treatment?

HCG Cancer Centre is equipped with all the diagnostic and treatment facilities. The hospital has one of the most advanced diagnostic techniques for rapid and accurate diagnosis. It also has experienced sonographers and state-of-the-art equipment that ensures consistent and reliable results.


Ultrasound is a safe and non-invasive tool used across various medical specialties. Its advantages make it a preferred choice for diagnosing and monitoring various conditions. Despite certain drawbacks, the benefits of ultrasound outweigh its limitations. Most patients do not experience any serious ultrasound scan side effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Drinking water before an ultrasound may be necessary for certain exams, such as pelvic or abdominal ultrasounds, to ensure bladder filling for optimal imaging.

The duration of ultrasound imaging varies depending on the type of exam and area being evaluated, typically ranging from 15 to 45 minutes.

It is uncommon to feel sore after an ultrasound, as it is a non-invasive procedure. However, slight discomfort may occur due to the probe pressure.

Patients should avoid food before an ultrasound, especially for abdominal scans, to prevent bowel gas interference, ensuring clearer imaging for an accurate diagnosis.

Ultrasound may have limited penetration through bone and air-filled structures, resulting in poor visualization. The results also depend on operator skill. It may not provide detailed images for certain conditions.

Before the ultrasound procedure, your radiologist will give you specific instructions, such as fasting or drinking water as advised and wearing comfortable clothing.

Yes, ultrasound is safe, as it does not use radiation.

No, an ultrasound scan is a non-invasive procedure and is not painful. However, a few patients may feel discomfort due to the gel application and probe pressure. That being said, ultrasound side effects are uncommon.

Yes, in some cases, the doctor may recommend ultrasound screening for those who have a high risk of developing cancer or are suspected to have cancer. For instance, ovarian cancer ultrasound is recommended for ovarian cancer detection, and ultrasound for breast lumps is recommended for breast cancer detection.