Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves the use of a small transducer (probe) and ultrasound gel to expose the body to high -frequency sound waves. Ultrasound is safe and painless, and produces pictures of the inside of the body using sound waves. Ultrasound examinations do not use Ionizing radiation (as used in x-rays). Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, As well as blood flowing through blood vessels.
Conventional ultrasound displays the images in thin, flat sections of the body. Advancements in ultrasound technology include three-dimensional (3-D) ultrasound that formats the sound wave data into 3-D images. Four-dimensional (4-D) ultrasound is 3-D ultrasound in motion.
Doppler ultrasound is a special ultrasound technique that evaluates blood flow through a blood vessel, including the body's major arteries and veins in the abdomen, arms, legs and neck.
Why should I do it ?
A transrectal ultrasound of the prostate gland is performed to:
- Detect disorders within the prostate.
- Determine whether the prostate is enlarged, also known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), with measurements acquired as needed for any treatment planning.
- Detect an abnormal growth within the prostate.
- Help diagnose the cause of a man's infertility.
A transrectal ultrasound of the prostate gland is typically used to help diagnose symptoms such as:
- A nodule felt by a physician during a routine physical exam or prostate cancer screening exam.
- An elevated blood test result.
- Difficulty urinating.
- Because ultrasound provides real-time images, it also can be used to guide procedures such as needle biopsies, in which a needle is used to sample cells (tissue) from an abnormal area in the prostate gland for later laboratory testing.
Any preparations needed?
- You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.
- You may need to remove all clothing and jewelry in the area to be examined.
- Other preparation depends on the type of examination you will have. For some scans your doctor may instruct you not to eat or drink for as many as 12 hours before your appointment. For others you may be asked to drink up to six glasses of water two hours prior to your exam and avoid urinating so that your bladder is full when the scan begins.
- In case of children, ultrasound examinations are very sensitive to motion, and an active or crying child will slow the examination process. To ensure a smooth experience, it would be beneficial to explain the procedure to the child prior to the exam.
- You may be instructed to avoid taking blood thinners, such as aspirin, for seven to 10 days prior to the procedure if a biopsy is planned.
- An enema may be taken two to four hours before the ultrasound to clean out the bowel.