October 2019 is Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month (MUAM). This month long campaign celebrates the extraordinary contribution medical sonography provides to modern medicine.
With ultrasound’s increasing role in medicine, one of the main goals of the campaign is to provide the public with a better understanding of what ultrasound is, its many uses in health care, and to guide the public toward locating and utilizing the best ultrasound practitioners and resources available.
In total, six ultrasound organizations join together every year to sponsor Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month (MUAM). Far beyond sonograms, medical ultrasound and point of care ultrasound are changing the ways medical teams treat and diagnose their patients. The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine recognizes that much of the general public is familiar with the use of medical ultrasound during pregnancy; however, many people are unaware that ultrasound can be used throughout all stages of life and for various medical indications.
Henry County Health Center offers patients ultrasound technology in the following areas: OB/GYN, abdominal, vascular/cardiac, small parts, procedure guidance. HCHC’s two ultrasound technologists are graduates of accredited radiology tech and sonography programs.
What is ultrasound?
Ultrasound, also referred to as sonography, is a non-invasive technique used to capture internal images of the body, including blood vessels, muscles, organs and other soft tissues. Ultrasounds may be performed to monitor the progress of a growing fetus inside a mother’s uterus, to detect abnormalities or signs of disease or even to visually assist with surgeries and biopsies. Ultrasound does not use radiation like X-rays or CT scans. Instead it relies on sound waves generated at such high frequencies that they cannot be heard by the human ear.
An ultrasound machine consists of a transducer (a type of probe) and a central processing unit or computer connected to a display (monitor), keyboard and printer. The transducer is passed over the area of the body that covers the internal structures to be imaged. It is the transducer that emits sound waves and the sound waves are reflected back to the transducer after they bounce off the structures that are the focus of the ultrasound. The central processing unit measures the echo intensities and speed. These measures are converted into electronic images that show up on the machine’s monitor.
The ultrasound technologist uses the keyboard to enter patient data and information related to the procedure. Images are recorded and reviewed by a radiologist or cardiologist to generate a diagnostic report.