Ultrasound, also known as sonography, is a painless procedure that uses sound waves to create images of organs and structures in the body. The ultrasound machine sends out high-frequency sound waves that reflect off body structures. A computer then uses these reflected waves to create a picture. Unlike X-rays or computed tomography (CT), ultrasound doesn’t require radiation, so it’s often used for evaluating fetal growth. There are no risks associated with ultrasound. 

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Wound Center is one of only seven locations in the nation to use the most advanced ultrasound technology. This quick, painless test allows doctors to diagnose bone infections without using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

How the Test Is Performed

You will lie down on an exam table and the sonographer will apply a clear gel — which helps with the transmission of the sound waves — and will move a handheld probe, called a transducer, over the area that your doctor wants to examine. During the exam, you may be asked to change position to explore different areas, or you may be asked to hold your breath or lie still during certain parts of the exam.

Your Ohio State doctor may use ultrasound to:

  • Evaluate pain, swelling or infection
  • Examine many of the body’s internal organs and tissues
  • Guide a needle for biopsy or tumor treatment
  • Evaluate abnormalities of the muscles and tendons

To evaluate blood flow, your doctor may use Doppler ultrasound, which bounces high-frequency sound waves off circulating red blood cells to measure their direction and speed. When Doppler and traditional ultrasound are used, it’s called duplex ultrasound. Doppler ultrasound may be used to monitor certain treatments to your veins and arteries, or to diagnose:

  • Blood clots and blocked arteries
  • Poorly functioning valves in leg veins, which can cause blood or other fluids to pool in your legs
  • Heart valve defects and congenital heart disease
  • Decreased blood circulation to your legs, or peripheral arterial disease
  • Bulging arteries, or aneurysms
  • Narrowing or blocked arteries

Your doctor may also use transcutaneous oxygen measurement to determine the amount of oxygen in tissue. This test can help your doctor determine the healing capacity of the tissue, as well as measure blood flow.


Share this Page