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Ultrasound makes use of high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the inside of the body.
As these images are captured in real time, structure and movement of the body's internal organs are shown.
Blood flow is demonstrated in vessels allowing the direction of flow and velocities to be determined using colour Doppler techniques.
Ultrasound investigation does not involve the use of ionizing radiation.

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This investigation will evaluate the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen and kidneys.
 
The abdominal aorta can be assessed using colour Doppler.
 
Abdominal ultrasound will also detect abnormal fluid (ascites) and abnormal mass lesions.
 
Trans-abdominal evaluation of the uterus and ovaries can be done using the full bladder as an acoustic window. However, trans-vaginal ultrasound is better to evaluate the pelvic organs and is commonly done by your gynaecologist.

Patient preparation requires fasting for 12 hours prior to the investigation. This is typically for evaluation of the gallbladder. Should the investigation be aimed at the pelvic organs, the bladder should be full.

Any joint can be evaluated.
 
The shoulder joint is often examined to look for rotator cuff injuries following trauma or to evaluate shoulder pain.
 
The knee joint is typically examined to assess the patellar tendon and looking for fluid in the joint.
 
The Achilles tendon is evaluated at the ankle.
 
Any muscle can be evaluated for tears and blood clots.
 
Soft tissue swelling can be evaluated to see if it is solid or a fluid collection.
 
No patient preparation is required.
Ultrasound is used together with clinical assessment and mammographic findings to manage various breast conditions.
 
US guidance is also used to obtain biopsy samples.
 
No preparation required.
The testis and surrounding structures are well imaged using high-frequency US.
 
Soft tissue nodules and cysts can be differentiated.
 
Hydrocoeles (fluid around the testis) and varicocoeles (abnormal testicular veins) can be detected and evaluated.
 
Vascular flow in the testis and epididymis can be demonstrated using colour Doppler.
The carotid arteries are interrogated to determine the presence of strictures.
 
Venous structures are assessed for deep vein thrombosis - clots. No patient preparation is required.
The thyroid gland is evaluated either for generalised enlargement or for focal nodules.
 
Nodules have characteristic features on US which aid in further management.
 
Ultrasound will differentiate solid from cystic lesions.
 
US guidance is commonly used to obtain tissue for pathological evaluation.
 
No patient preparation required.
The prostate gland can be imaged on trans-abdominal US.
 
The prostate is most accurately evaluated by means of trans-rectal US.
 
A special probe is inserted into the rectum and biopsies can also be taken at the same time.
 
The rectum should be emptied prior the investigation.