How to Read an Ultrasound Picture1

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Disregard the text and numbers at the top of your scan.,
Start from the top of the image.,
Consider the differences in colors.,
Watch for common visual effects.

Most hospitals and ultrasound centers use this space to include details like your name, hospital reference number, or ultrasound machine settings. Since this information does not have anything to do with what you see on the ultrasound image, you can ignore this information., The top of the screen or printed image is where the ultrasound probe was placed. In other words, the image you see shows what the organ or tissues look like from the side rather than from the top.For example, if you are having an ultrasound of your uterus, then what you see at the top of the screen or printed ultrasound would be the outline of the tissues above your uterus. As you look further down the screen, you will see deeper tissues, such as the lining of your uterus, the inside of your uterus, and the back of your uterus.

, Most ultrasound images are in black and white, but you can see differences in the shades of black and white in your ultrasound scan. The color differences come from the differences in the densities of the materials that the sound passes through.

Solid tissues, like bone, will appear white because the outer surface reflects more sound.
Tissues that are filled with liquid, like the uterus, will appear dark.
Ultrasound imaging does not work well for gas, so organs that are filled with air, like the lungs, are generally not examined with ultrasound.

, Since ultrasound uses sound to create images of the inner structures of your body, the images are not crystal clear. There are many different visual effects that can happen as a result of the ultrasound’s settings, angle, or of the density of the tissues being examined. Some of the most common visual effects to watch for include:Enhancement. This is when part of the structure being examined appears brighter than it should due to an excess of fluids in the area, such as in a cyst.

Attenuation. Also known as shadowing, this effect causes the area being scanned to appear darker than it should.

Anisotropy. This effect has to do with the angle of the probe. For example, holding the probe at a right angle to some tendons would cause the area to appear brighter than normal, so it is necessary to adjust the angle of the probe to avoid this effect.

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