The Difference Between Different Types of Ultrasound?

Ultrasounds are a very common and popular form of medical imaging. They are painless, offer no risk of radiation and can provide details of the interior of the body without making a single incision. However, there are various kinds of ultrasounds that can be administered for different parts of the body and different kinds of conditions. Knowing the kind of ultrasound one needs is crucial to understanding health conditions.

Most people are aware of ultrasounds in relation to pregnancy. Ultrasounds use sonar power or sound waves in order to create images of the organs and fetuses without having to make incisions or use contrast material. Sound waves reverberate off the organs and bones and the ultrasound machine interprets the change in sound waves and uses computer technology to make an image. Because of the comfort on the part of the patient in concert with the information gleaned for doctors, ultrasounds are now able to do so much more. Ultrasounds can be performed in 3D and 4D, allowing parents to see unborn children’s features and movement in higher, clearer quality than ever before.

Ultrasounds are used for more than just pregnancy. They can determine problems like internal bleeding, thyroid complications, and vascular, reproductive and sexual issues. One of the most interesting forms of ultrasound is a Doppler ultrasound. Most people remember the word “Doppler” from high school science when discussing why it is that you can hear an ambulance coming from far away but once it is right in front of you, the sound dissipates. That kind of sound science can even be applied in a medical sense (but without the loud sirens).

Doppler ultrasound can map the movement of blood through veins in the body. This is extremely useful if there is a possible blockage in the vein. Blood blockages are what causes things like strokes, heart attacks, amputations, and other kinds of problems. The most common places to perform a Doppler ultrasound are at the neck and abdominal arteries leading to and from the brain and heart, mainly the aortic and carotid arteries.

During a carotid Doppler ultrasound, the transducer or ultrasound wand is held against the neck with ultrasound gel to prevent air pockets from forming as sound cannot penetrate the air. Patients report hearing pulse like sounds when the procedure is happening. A carotid Doppler ultrasound differs from other forms of ultrasound because it is measures the direction and speed of blood cells as they move throughout the vessels. The movement causes a change in the pitch of reverberating sound waves. This way doctors can tell if there is a blockage or damage to the vessel that could be detrimental to the healthy blood flow needed in the body.

If you are concerns about cardiovascular health or high blood pressure, consider having one of these ultrasounds performed. If you are aware that you are high risk for heart attack or stroke, having crucial medical information gained from ultrasounds could save your life.

If you have more questions about ultrasounds or would like to schedule an ultrasound appointment, please view our Ultrasound Service Page for more information. You can also schedule an ultrasound appointment with our Request Appointment Tool. If you have more questions or concerns, feel free to contact Doctors Imaging office in Metairie at 504-833-8111 Monday through Friday to speak with a representative.

Using Ultrasounds to Detect Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

According to a recent article published in the the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, ultrasound technology is helpful at determining Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition doctors classify as a “repetitive strain injury,” meaning that carpal tunnel does not just happen after one injury, but as the result of repeated overuse of the tendons surrounding the median nerve in the wrist. The median nerve controls the movement and feelings in the wrist, up through the palms and fingers and when this nerve experiences long-term pressure, carpal tunnel syndrome can occur.

Symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome include: definitive wrist pain spreading into the arm, tingling or numb feeling in the fingers and palm, inability to determine temperature in the fingers, and loss of movement in the wrist, palm and fingers. If left untreated, carpal tunnel can cause the muscles in the hand, especially the thumb, to waste away and become less usable. Carpal tunnel syndrome is seen most often in those that work around computers, avid video game players, or those in assembly line employment: sewing, cleaning or packaging.

The traditional way to determine carpal tunnel treatment was through a physical examination called a Tinel test, in which the treating physician applies slight pressure to the median nerve, usually causing a shock of pain through the patient’s hand. There is also the Phalen test where the patient is asked to hold the back of the hands together with arms out for upwards of 2 minutes. If these tests proved to be inconclusive, most doctors will use electrodiagnostic tests by inserting electric shock into the nerve and measuring the speed in which the signal is transmitted. This process begins by inserting a fine needle into the muscle surrounding the median nerve and applying electrodes into the muscle to determine the degree of damage.

Recently however, orthopedic doctors have found that ultrasound technology may be more effective in determining if a patient has carpal tunnel syndrome. Ultrasounds are used to show if the median nerve is experiencing any impairment as a result of arthritis, muscle tears, or tendonitis.  Ultrasound, especially modern digital ultrasounds, had high sensitivity to carpel tunnel in laboratory studies in comparison to the electrodiagnostic testing. In summary “ultrasound was accurate in 89% of cases and electrodiagnostic testing was accurate in 86% of cases” highlighting that the simpler and less expensive ultrasound technology can determine carpal tunnel syndrome.

Ultrasounds use the power of sound waves in order to produce images. Without any invasive properties, shots or radiation, ultrasounds are safe and comfortable to patients in comparison to needles and electric shocks and they offer invaluable information .

At Doctors Imaging in Metairie, we use the Phillips digital ultrasound, a state of the art machine that creates clear and concise images for doctors and can help your hand doctor to determine whether medication, physical therapy or surgery is necessary for those suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. For more information, look through our Ultrasound Page or call us at 504-883-8111 to schedule your ultrasound appointment.

Getting an Ultrasound to Better Diagnose Thyroid Problems

For many people, thyroid problems often go untreated. They differ from other endocrine issues in that the symptoms can imitate fatigue, sleeplessness or the common cold. People can live for years with the symptoms without ever realizing there is an issue. The thyroid is located in the front of the neck, right underneath the Adam’s apple, with two lobes on either side of the neck. It is a crucial part of the body because it releases hormones that are needed for every organ and process in the body. When the thyroid is having difficulty, everything from digestion to mood can be altered.

Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid is releasing too many hormones into the body. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include an increased appetite accompanied by weight loss, feelings of excitement-heart palpitations, increased heart rate, abnormal perspiration.

Increase in daily bowel movements and the development of a goiter-an enlarged mass in the neck–all are indicative of a thyroid problem.

On the other end of the spectrum, if the thyroid is not producing enough hormones, the body’s functions suffer as well. Hormones are essential for starting, stopping and maintaining the processes of the body–everything from appetite, instincts, even height. If your body is not producing enough hormones, you may notice an increased sensitivity to cold, tingling or “pins and needles” in the hands and fingers. Some notice a reduced heart rate and prominent fatigue as well.

Thyroid problems are common for as many as 20 million Americans, 60% of whom do not even realize their condition. According to the American Thyroid Association, women are 5 to 8 times more likely to develop thyroid problems and leaving thyroid disease undiagnosed can lead to cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and infertility. Luckily, determining thyroid problems is relatively easy. Most physicians will recommend having a blood test performed and an ultrasound scan in order to determine the presence of a thyroid disorder.

Ultrasounds use sound waves in order to interpret the inner happenings of the body. They are non-invasive and because ultrasound images can be seen in real-time, physicians use them to guide biopsy needles if needed or to check if the thyroid contains a cyst ot tumor. Ultrasounds cause no pain and there is no risk of radiation exposure either. Many people think that ultrasounds are only used during pregnancy but ultrasounds are one preferred method for many conditions like heart murmurs, prostate complications and internal bleeding.

When examining the thyroid gland, technicians will place the transducer (ultrasound wand) over the thyroid in order to observe its size and shape.

If you have any of the symptoms mentioned or are worried that you may be developing thyroid complications, make your ultrasound appointment with Doctors Imaging today by either calling 504-883-3555 or by filling out the Request an Ultrasound Appointment Form in our Ultrasound Section.

Can Men Benefit From Ultrasound Procedures?

Most people assume that ultrasounds are specifically designed for viewing unborn fetuses and other female medical issues. In truth, men can also gain a remarkable amount of benefits from undergoing an ultrasound procedure. The goal of any imaging procedure is to have a clear picture of the examined area so that a physician can make the best treatment choice for a patient. If you are a man and wondering what the advantages could be to having an ultrasound performed, read through and see if you would like to speak to your doctor about scheduling an appointment.

Ultrasounds use sound waves to create images. The same way that sonar works for marine science, sound waves are emitted through the body and when they come into contact with a structure, whether it is an organ or other mass, that structure sends the sound waves back to the ultrasound machine. The machine then interprets the sound waves to determine things like size and location.

When checking for male-specific health problems, doctors use ultrasounds frequently. Most often ultrasound is used in the abdomen to see the gallbladder, kidneys, pancreas abd liver. Vascular and heart evaluations may use ultrasound technology. The thyroid gland is well visualized with ultrasound. Ultrasounds are also used for checking the possibility of testicular cancer. Ultrasounds are best for providing images of the scrotum and surrounding tissues. Physicians use ultrasound technology to determine the presence of masses, infertility, and testicular injury. Pain, swelling, inflammation could be symptomatic of epididymitis or testicular torsion, a condition that reduces blood supply to the scrotum and requires immediate surgery. Undescended testes affect up to 30% of boys, and if not properly monitored the condition contains a high risk of developing cancer.

It is important that the general public understand that ultrasounds are not just for women and pregnancy but can contain a variety of health benefits for men as well. Ultrasounds are a frequently used, completely painless imaging procedure. If you have other questions or concerns about having an ultrasound performed, speak to your doctor about scheduling an appointment.

Are you looking for an Ultrasound facility in Louisiana? Make an appointment with Doctors Imaging through our online appointment scheduling or by calling 504-883-8111.

What Can I See With My 4-D Ultrasound?

The advancements made in ultrasound technology have come such a long way in the last ten years. Where we could only make estimations concerning sex, congenital deformities, or health risks before, now with the advent of the 4D ultrasound, doctors and expectant mothers can learn so much more. With 4D ultrasounds, the question shifts from what can you see into what can’t you see?

The traditional two-dimensional ultrasounds use high frequency sound waves to create slices of a fetus and then shade them to make the image easier to see. Technicians and parents could only view the one slice of the image at a time and for some parents, the exhilarating feeling of finally seeing your child was dampened because of the low-quality images. While this technology was sufficient for determining the proper growth, placement and sex of an unborn child, there are other conditions that could not be determined until the child was born.

Today however, with the use of 3D and 4D ultrasounds (like the ones in use at our facilities), doctors are better able to diagnose certain conditions and features. 3D ultrasounds take a catalogue of echoes using sound waves produced by the transducer (ultrasound wand) and then combines the images in a digital bank to create a more detailed image. With 3D ultrasounds, doctors can determine so much more than just the sex of a child. Facial features like eyes, nose and lips can be seen. Mothers can count the fingers and toes of their child. But most importantly, physicians can see conditions like cleft lip, the possibility of Down’s Syndrome or other external abnormalities in the fetus.

The difference between a 3D and 4D ultrasound is that a 3D ultrasound is just a singular photograph. A 4D ultrasound combines the image as well as movement so it becomes similar to a short movie for the mother and doctor. With 4D ultrasounds, mothers can see their child’s movements in real-time.

Perhaps it is the clarity of the image or just finally seeing your child’s face, but having these imaging procedures done may promote healthy bonding for the mother and the health of the child.

If you’re looking for ultrasound services in the New Orleans or Metairie, Louisiana area, get in touch with us at Doctors Imaging. We’re radiologists concerned about quality patient care. To make your appointment, either call 504-833-8111 or use our online scheduling form.

Pregnancy and Ultrasounds: Benefits and Innovations

Pregnancy is a joyful time in any woman’s life and also one of the most nerve-wracking. By reading all the books and heeding all suggestions from your doctor, you can help to ensure the safe delivery and future of your unborn child. One tool that your obstetrician will recommend often is an ultrasound procedure. Ultrasounds are effective for examining unborn fetuses because of the non-invasive nature of the procedure as well as the extent of what ultrasounds can reveal. Ultrasound may be done frequently, at the beginning of every trimester. If you have a pre-existing or gestational condition that requires additional medical attention, you’ll want to talk to your specialist concerning your specific situation.

Ultrasounds use sound waves to create images of the interior happenings of the body. Ultrasounds are useful in determining pregnancy as well as in diagnosing infertility problems. There are several types of ultrasounds that can be performed. If you believe you may be pregnant or are having difficulty becoming pregnant, your doctor may order a transvaginal ultrasound to be performed. A transvaginal ultrasound is useful in examining the reproductive organs such as the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes and observing processes like ovulation and implantation. Ultrasounds can also determine abnormalities like ovarian cysts or uterine tilting. If you are currently pregnant, your doctor will most likely perform a traditional, exterior ultrasound on the pelvic region.

Traditional ultrasounds display the interior of the body in flat, darker sections. Now, there are more innovations in the field of pregnancy, and ultrasounds have been upgraded so much that an expectant mother can even determine the facial structures of her baby. Mothers are offered three-dimensional ultrasounds that can translate sound waves to a higher degree into 3-D images. There are even four-dimensional ultrasounds that offer 3-D images in motion. Learning a child’s sex or determining size has never been easier.

Having these ultrasounds performed can be extremely helpful for nervous, expectant mothers. Now doctors are better equipped to give medical advice, determine any pre-natal deficiencies, congenital disease as well as foresee difficult pregnancies and deliveries. Ultrasounds are relatively non-invasive and are often the first line of defense your doctor will recommend if there is any concern or question you have regarding your pregnancy. If you are a high-risk pregnancy, regular and detailed ultrasounds can be the best tool in keeping the health of baby and mother monitored. If you are hoping to become pregnant, ultrasounds are a great feature of medical imaging facilities to help determine any problem areas or conditions that may be preventing pregnancy. Knowing your body and being aware of the progression of your pregnancy can help to calm nerves and increase the excitement for the new addition to your family.

Looking for ultrasound procedures in the New Orleans or Metairie, Louisiana area? Click here to schedule your ultrasound procedure appointment today, or you can always make an appointment by calling 504-883-8111.

What Should I Expect From my First Ultrasound?

What to expect what you’re expecting is fairly laid out and, well, expected.  Books available to expecting parents tell you all you need to know about having a child, whether it is how to prepare yourself physically and mentally or how to set up the baby’s room.  Certain aspects of pregnancy, however, can be a little scary as well as exciting.  It helps to know exactly what will happen at certain milestones in your nine-month journey.  Of these milestones, one of the most significant is your first ultrasound.  It’s the first glance you get at your baby.  It’s an intimate experience that can leave you speechless.  It can also be wonderfully intimidating.  To help you get through, here’s what you should expect from, and how to prepare for, your first ultrasound.

About Ultrasounds

Obstetric ultrasonography is the technical term for ultrasounds.  It sounds a lot more complicated than what it actually is, though.  To put it simply, a machine creates a sound wave, it then receives the echoes produced by the sound wave, and finally it creates an image.  You may have your first ultrasound at around 6 to 10 weeks, or at the standard mid-pregnancy.

Ultrasounds provide a lot of useful information for both you and your primary doctor.  Ultrasound technicians check for the possibility of twins, the location of the placenta, the amount of amniotic fluid, the baby’s heartbeat, sex and size.

How to prepare

Knowing how the procedure takes place is helpful beforehand.  Research the possible abnormalities that can be detected by ultrasound, so you can know what to expect if that comes up.  If possible, take a supportive person with you.  This can be the other parent, or one of your relatives or friends.  It helps to have someone else there.

What to Expect

While ultrasounds may be performed vaginally, they are usually administered through the abdomen.  The National Institute of Health explains how you lie on the examination table with your belly exposed.  The administrator of the ultrasound will then rub a gel you’re your stomach.  A little caution, the gel may be cold.  The purpose of the gel is to improve the sound conduction.  A probe, the device that sends and receives the sound waves, is then gently slid across your stomach.

As the machine translates the sounds into images, you begin to see your baby with your own eyes.  Your baby and their bone material will show up as white on the screen, with amniotic fluid showing up as black.  Technicians examine the whole stomach, taking videos and still images to be shown to your doctor.

In some cases, you may be asked to drink a glass or two of water, to ensure you have a full bladder.  This pushes the uterus up, allowing for a much clearer image.

While the procedure is taking place, you may ask questions, but they are more likely to be answered by your doctor later.  If you prefer not to know your baby’s sex, make sure to tell the technician before.  The procedure itself can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes.  The more advanced screenings, however, can take up to an hour.

Overall, the experience of getting an ultrasound is a positive one.  It’s fast, easy, painless, and very informative.  This is one of the key parts of pregnancy, so make it memorable!

If you’re looking for an Ultrasound service in the Louisiana area, come to Doctors Imaging. We’re radiologists concerned about quality patient care. Scheduling is easy, results are available on-site, our rates are below hospitals, and we accept every major insurance.

The Truth Behind Thyroid Disorders

Trends are everywhere, even in the health world. So right now kale and quinoa are the “IT” foods and there are about a million barre workouts that are sure to change your body and make you the fittest you’ve ever been. The “IT” health problem right now seems to be thyroid problems. Everyone says they know someone with a thyroid disorder, disease, or cancer. And while it’s unclear whether or not quinoa and Pure Barre are going to save your life, getting screened and being conscious of Thyroid disorders could.

The most astounding statistic on thyroid problems from the American Thyroid Association is that 12 percent of the US population will develop a thyroid problem. This means that 20 million Americans have some kind of thyroid disorder. To put that number into perspective, that is more than twice the total population of New York City. Women are between five and eight times more likely to have a thyroid problem than men, which means one in every eight women will experience a problem in their lifetime.

These statistics are alarming, and a little bit scary at first, but the reason this information is important is that most thyroid disorders are manageable with treatment. And since the reason for thyroid disorders is largely unknown, it is imperative that people get tested.

Screenings and early treatment help allow the significant number of Americans with thyroid problems live normal and healthy lives. At Doctors Imaging we offer high-resolution thyroid ultrasound to evaluate thyroid problems. We offer these non-invasive scans at a price up to 50 percent less than the neighboring hospitals helping keep the New Orleans community as healthy as possible.