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Diagnostic medical ultrasound is a procedure that uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound) to produce dynamic images (or sonograms) of organs, tissues, or blood flow inside the body. This procedure is often referred to as an ultrasound scan or ultrasound examination. Diagnostic medical ultrasound is used to examine many parts of the body, such as the abdomen, breast, reproductive system, heart, and blood vessels.

An ultrasound examination involves using an instrument called a transducer. The transducer works like a loudspeaker and microphone because it can transmit and receive sound. The transducer sends a stream of high frequency sounds waves into the body and detects their echoes as they bounce off internal structures. Different structures in the body reflect these sound waves differently. A computer translates this information to generate images of the structure(s) on a computer monitor.

There are several areas of specialization in the field of diagnostic medical ultrasound, including vascular ultrasound. Vascular ultrasound is of primary interest to oncologists because cancer patients are at greater risk for developing blood clots while undergoing treatment.

At VOA, a highly skilled, ARDMS-certified sonographer performs all ultrasound examinations using specialized equipment to produce high-quality images. After examination, the sonographer reviews the images and the patient’s history with a physician trained in the interpretation of ultrasound.