25 June 2010
By Barnalee Handique
Dr Sudarshan Rawat, Consultant Radiologist, Ruby Hall Clinic
Women usually have doubts whether they should go for ultrasound during pregnancy.
Ultrasound is safe during pregnancy. It helps to check the growth of the baby inside the womb. The sonography test should usually be done when the foetus is 5-6 weeks, 11-14 weeks and in 20 weeks’ time. Later, the test can be done just before delivery, in 35 to 37 weeks. The sonography test helps ascertain the baby’s growth and development, any anomaly including Nuchal translucency, thickening of the issues and so on. In fact, you can also measure the baby’s weight and height.
There is a Doppler mode built inside the ultrasound machine, which helps detect the flow of blood in the baby, and checks the uterus and placenta. It is generally useful in high risk pregnancies, where the baby’s health is of concern. It reduces the risk of the baby dying and other complications during childbirth. However, its value as a screening tool in pregnancies is limited by complications being rare, and greater possibility of unnecessary intervention and adverse effects. If any complication is detected in the foetus, then the patient may have to go in for a couple of more sonographies.
The primary use of breast ultrasound is to detect any abnormalities in the breast such as a lump or bloody or clear discharge from the nipple. With the help of ultrasound, one can determine whether the lump is a ball of tissues, a cyst or cancerous. Ultrasound can also show additional features of the affected area.
If an abnormality is detected during the ultra sonography, then the radiologist may go in for a biopsy. One can also go in for clinical tests to confirm the results.
If any fluid is detected in the chest during a clinical check-up or when there is free air in the chest due to an injury, then the patient is recommended to go for ultra sonography. Chest sonography is an initial procedure in the stepwise imaging diagnosis of pulmonary and pleural diseases, but it requires experienced hands. Once the sonography is done, it helps the doctor to make an unequivocal diagnosis without exposing the patient to costly and stressful procedures.
Echogram or echocardiography is undertaken when abnormalities are detected in the heart during a regular check-up, or when the patient is suffering from chest pain. This test also helps predict the risk of heart attack and stroke in persons with no cardiovascular symptoms.
One can go for ultrsonography to check the normal supply of blood in the body, any kind of injury, fractures, pain in the joints and in other parts of the body, or when one feels coldness or numbness in the hand.
Ultra songraphy is also recommended when one is suffering from pain in abdomen , pelvis and Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).