Ultrasound is a radiation-free medical imaging exam that uses high-frequency sound waves to visualize organs, tissues, and some functional processes inside the body. Also called sonography, ultrasound has a wide range of diagnostic applications for nearly every area of the human anatomy.

Some ultrasound exams, especially those that have the purpose of viewing real-time processes in the body, involve the use of a contrast material that is non-radioactive. This includes certain cardiac ultrasound applications such as stress echocardiography.


Among the many types of diagnostic ultrasound studies that our radiologists interpret are:

  • Abdominal ultrasound—to evaluate internal organs such as the liver, kidneys, spleen, pancreas, or gallbladder
  • Arterial and venous/vascular ultrasound—diagnostic or screening exams for abnormalities or disease in the blood vessels, such as cardiovascular or peripheral artery disease
  • Brain, spine, and hip ultrasound exams in infants
  • Breast ultrasound as a screening or diagnostic exam to look for signs of breast cancer or other disorders of the breast—see our breast ultrasound page for further detail
  • Cardiovascular ultrasound—imaging the heart and major blood vessels to evaluate functioning and detect signs of cardiovascular disease
  • Female pelvic ultrasound—scans of the female reproductive organs
  • Musculoskeletal ultrasound—to evaluate injury or disease in bones, muscles, or soft tissues
  • Obstetric ultrasound—to evaluate fetal development during pregnancy
  • Scrotum, testicular, and prostate ultrasound—to diagnose disorders of the male reproductive organs
  • Thyroid ultrasound—to assess the condition of the gland or evaluate lumps or nodules

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