Practical ultrasound

Medical Imaging Centre (MIC), UMCG
Supervisor: Theo Kok MD PhD

Medical ultrasonography (sonography or ultrasound) is a diagnostic imaging technology used to visualise internal organs, their size, structure and any pathological lesions using high frequency sound. ( Humans can only hear in the range of about 30 to 20,000 cycles per second while ultrasonography frequency falls in the megahertz range: millions of cycles per second.)Ultrasound is different from x-ray in that it uses mechanical sound energy rather than radiation to produce images. Furthermore ultrasound provides a thin tomographic slice (similar to CT), rather than a flat plane projection like x-ray or fluoroscopy. It also has the advantage of being real-time rather than static and it can display not only images, but Doppler information as well. This is very useful in assessment of blood flow.

For ultrasound imaging, a hand-held probe (called a scan head) is placed directly on the abdominal wall. Acoustic gel is used to couple the probe to the body, because the high frequency sound waves do not travel well through air.

After a short introduction (physics and clinical examples) in this workshop the students are able to practice ultrasound on each other. The normal anatomy of several intra-abdominal organs and vascular structures will be visualised.