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A ultrasound, or Diagnostic Medical Sonography, is a type of imaging that uses high frequency sound waves to create a picture of the internal organs. It is frequently used to look at the fetus during pregnancy, organs like the heart, kidneys and liver, and for other gynecological uses besides pregnancy. The method is typically noninvasive, and produces no radiation.

There are several different types of ultrasound. A 2D ultrasound is regular black and white sonogram. It’s generated using a single angle, and produces an outline of a section of interior structure. It’s known as 2D because the image it creates features length and width, but not depth. The main drawback of a 2D sonogram is the difficulty with which non-trained viewers have making out the imagery.

Prospective parents may prefer a 3D ultrasound to view their fetus. 3D ultrasound uses multiple angles to produce an image created by rendering software that features length, width, and depth. It creates a more complete picture of the fetus or whatever else it may be used to view.

A 4D ultrasound, meanwhile, features length, width, and depth over time. This method utilizes multiple angles and multiple captures taken successively to create motion imagery. This is in contrast to the other types of ultrasound, which are still images. 4D ultrasound may be used to take video of an unborn baby, or capture the beating of a heart. 4D ultrasound may also be called, “Live 3D.”

Finally, an ultrasound image that is colorized is referred to as a Doppler ultrasound.

During an ultrasound, the patient lies on a table and has a special gel applied to the area that the technician will be imaging. A transducer is slowly moved across the area, and the patient must remain still. An ultrasound generally does not last beyond half an hour. There are no aftereffects and you may resume your daily activities following an ultrasound.

Preparing for your procedure

The following tests need no preparations: Thyroid, Vascular, Testes. For Obstetrical, pelvic and renal examinations, start with an empty bladder. Ninety minutes before the exam drink 48 ounces of water over a 60 minute period. Do not empty your bladder until the exam in complete. For Abdominal examinations, such as for gallbladder, liver and pancreas, do not eat or drink after midnight. Medications may be taken with a small amount of water. No smoking the morning of the exam.