Medical ultrasound refers to the use of ultrasound waves to scan tissues and organs in the human body.
Working on the principle that different tissues absorb sound waves to different extents, an ultrasound machine emits high-frequency sound waves (way beyond human hearing) that penetrates the skin deep into underlying tissues.
The reflected sound waves are then analysed by the machine to produce a visible image.
Common uses of medical ultrasound include:
  • pregnancy scans of developing fetus
  • breast ultrasound to detect cysts, growths and tumours not visible on mammogram
  • abdominal scans of the liver, gallbladder and kidneys for cysts, stones, fatty liver, etc.
  • pelvic scans of female reproductive organs for cysts, fibroids, tumours, etc.
  • thyroid gland scans for cysts and nodules
  • cardiac ultrasound for heart size, valves condition, blood flow, etc.