General and Colour Doppler Ultrasound Back
General and Colour Doppler Ultrasound

Ultrasound Abdomen

The use of high frequency sound waves to assess the liver, gallbladder, kidneys, spleen and pancreas together with the back of the abdomen and the major arteries and veins. Patients often present with abdominal pain, jaundice, loss of weight, bloating and also often used as a check-up test. The patient needs to be fasted for 5-6hours before scan to decrease gas in the intestine and therefore see much more clearly.

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Ultrasound Pelvis

High frequency ultrasound is used, through a full urinary bladder which acts as a window to see more clearly, the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries in a woman and the prostate gland and seminal vesicles in a man. The commonest presenting features are irregular menstrual periods and abnormal vaginal discharge in a woman and frequent micturition and blood in the urine in a man.

Abdominal and pelvic ultrasound are often combined at one visit.

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Ultrasound Testes

The scrotum is scanned directly and the testes, sperm tubes and veins to the testes are assessed. The commonest reason being either pain or swelling of the testis or the presence of a small nodule. Testicular cancer and acute infections are diagnosed early especially is regular checks performed. Fluid in the scrotum and enlargement of the veins could also be detected.

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Ultrasound Neck

The neck can be scanned mainly to assess the thyroid gland but also to check for enlargement of the salivary and lymph glands. The arteries and veins are also evaluated. It is the best initial test for assessment of a mass in the neck but is also used for pain, difficulty swallowing and for assessment of a stroke.

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Ultrasound Breasts

The breasts can also be checked using ultrasound and typically to assess a lump and decide of solid or fluid. Fluid lumps are never cancer but solid lumps maybe. It can also be used to assess areas on the mammogram that are not so clear and ultrasound is used in young breasts (under 30years), after breast implants and after surgery or radiotherapy. Ultrasound should NEVER be used without mammography in women over 35years of age.

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Ultrasound Eyes

Eyes can be scanned to assess the posterior chambers where the optic nerve and vitreous jelly form the major structures. Detachment of the retina where the nerve becomes free can be clearly seen especially if patient has a cataract making it impossible to see the back of the eye directly. Bleeding in the vitreous jelly is also detected, these changes more commonly seen in diabetics.

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Ultrasound Soft Tissues

Muscles, tendons, ligaments and joint contents are now increasingly assessed by ultrasound since it is a quick, safe and accurate test in cases of trauma, sports injuries and soft tissue tumours like lipomas. Deciding on partial and complete muscle tears and the presence of fluid in a joint are easily detected. Ultrasound often used as complementary test to plain x-ray examination in assessing chronic pain.

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Ultrasound Baby’s Head

Scanning the head of a very young baby (under 9months) can be performed using 2 small holes in the developing baby’s skull. The presence of any focal tumour or displacement of mid line structures can be evaluated. The state of the ventricles, the fluid containing spaces in the brain which can swell if a blockage is present causing a rise in pressure, can easily be noted.

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Ultrasound Obstetrics

Ultrasound has been used extensively to confirm pregnancy and to assess for growth of the foetus in the womb. Ultrasound will pick up some congenital deformities before delivery of the foetus so that appropriate advice is given to mother to be and any action taken. For example blocked kidneys in the foetus can be detected and sometimes drained antenatally. The clinic offers the facility for the taking of a video during the examination allowing other members of the family the opportunity to see foetus moving.

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Ultrasound Guided Breast Localization

Small lesions seen on ultrasound the breast can sometimes not be felt. The surgeon then needs help to find their position to be able to remove them safely. The radiologist uses ultrasound to pass a small needle with a fine wire inside into the lesion under direct vision with ultrasound. The patient also often is able to watch real time this process and the fine hook of the wire is released inside the lesion which is removed by the surgeon. All this is carried out under local anaesthetic.

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Ultrasound Guided Breast Cyst Aspiration

Breast cysts are often left untouched because they do not represent danger. Sometimes however they increase in size and are tender and painful making it awkward for the woman to wear a bra or put pressure on the breast when sleeping. A similar manoeuvre of passing a small needle into the cyst whilst watching its progress directly on ultrasound is safe and recommendable in such instances.

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Baby’s Ultrasound Hip Screening

Ultrasound is an accurate method of evaluating abnormalities of the baby’s hip, such as dislocation and dysplasia (under development).

The hip is a 'ball and socket' joint. The ball is at the top of the thigh bone (femur) and this normally lies within a small socket (acetabulum) on the outer side of the pelvis.

Sometimes the ball does not lie securely within the socket and can slip in and out of place (dislocation). If the ball lies within the socket but the socket is very shallow, as it has failed to grow properly this may allow the ball to move from the position it should occupy (dysplasia). In general girls are more likely to be affected than boys and it has been shown that the left hip is more often affected than the right.

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