Major Terminology of Ultrasonography

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  • 0:05 Silent Sounds
  • 0:29 What is Ultrasound?
  • 1:15 Ultrasound Uses
  • 3:22 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Can you hear things without seeing them or see things without hearing them? Maybe if you watch this lesson on ultrasound and its related terminology, you'll find out!

Silent Sounds

We can use things we can't hear or see to help us hear and see. Confused? Well, right now there are sound waves coming from your speakers that are invisible, but they help you hear my voice, right? And there are sound waves with frequencies so great that we can't hear them, yet they help us see things. No kidding, either! Welcome to the world of ultrasound and its related terminology.

What Is Ultrasound?

Ultrasonography, or commonly in medical lingo just ultrasound, is a non-invasive medical technique that utilizes ultrasonic waves for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes. 'Ultra-' means 'beyond' something, so it's beyond the limit of the sound waves we can hear; '-graphy' is a suffix that refers to a process or method of recording something.

By non-invasive, I mean that when using ultrasound we don't have to cut into the person or insert anything into them in order to use this technique to visualize internal body structures or generate heat in muscles, if used for therapy.

The cool thing about ultrasound is that unlike a simple x-ray image, it's not a still image. You can see what goes on inside the body in real-time, like a movie!

Ultrasound Uses

Care to know when we would use ultrasound to visualize something inside the body? Let's meet a few people in order to do so.

Mary is a pregnant woman who is visiting her doctor for a fetal ultrasound to determine how her pregnancy is progressing. She can see on the screen a visual image of her unborn baby produced by ultrasonography. The image created by ultrasonography is called a sonogram, where 'sono-' refers to sound, and '-gram' means record of something.

Jack is an older patient with a history of stroke. So, he is scheduled for carotid ultrasonography, the use of sound waves to help visualize the carotid arteries, the major arteries running up to the brain. Ultrasound can help detect a developing obstruction in this artery, one that may lead to another stroke. Better to catch it early!

Bob has been having chest pain and his cardiologist suspects there may be something wrong with his heart based on this and other signs and symptoms. So, Bob goes in for echocardiography, the use of ultrasound waves to visualize the heart muscle and related structures. 'Echo-' means sound, like an echo in a cave, and 'cardio-' means heart, like in cardiovascular fitness. The resulting image is known as an echocardiogram.

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