Will my insurance cover these tests?Most insurance companies and Medicare cover this testing. Copayments or deductibles may be applicable.
What is ultrasound?
Ultrasound is a medical imaging technique that uses a physical mechanic similar to a submarine’s sonar or dolphin echolocation. The device, called a transducer, sends out high frequency sound waves and then “listens” to the response. The advanced technology used in ultrasonography can create a picture based on the sound reflected back at the machine.
This visualization allows the doctor to determine the location of abnormal growths, if there is leakage or rupture in blood vessels, or simply the exact shape and size of the organ he would like to operate on. Additionally, all image recording happens in “real” time as soon as the machine is turned on and placed on the body. There is no wait for any sort of picture development that is common with X-Rays.
How is the ultrasound performed?
The procedure begins with the patient lying down on the examination table as a water-based gel is applied to the area on their body that will be observed. This gel allows consistent contact between the body and the transducer, free of any air pockets that could get in the way. The transducer is kept firmly against the skin and is “swept” back and forth across the area to allow for the most detailed observation possible.
The whole process usually takes 30 minutes. There is no discomfort associated with this procedure; if the part of your body being observed has already been tender there will be some slight pressure against it.
If a Doppler type ultrasound is used, you may actually hear the pulses of the device. There is also no clinical risk inherent in ultrasonography, as it uses no invasive methods, no ionizing radiation, and does not cause any health problems.
How should I prepare for the ultrasound?
You should come prepared to your ultrasound exam wearing loose fitting clothing and no jewelry. Please keep in mind that your clothing may need to be removed, depending on which body part is being imaged.
Also, it is important to inform your doctor if you have taken a barium enema or had any other upper gastrointestinal tract tests within the past few days, as they can severely distort the ultrasound image.
If any part of your gastrointestinal tract, aorta, liver or pancreas must be observed, then you will be advised to stop eating for the twelve hours prior to the exam. If your kidneys are the target organ, you may need to drink several glasses of water one hour before the exam, in addition to the aforementioned eating requirements.
Are there any risks associated with ultrasound testing?
Ultrasound is considered a safe, effective and painless procedure that can be used for a wide range of diagnostic purposes, as well as for assisting with minimally invasive procedures such as needle biopsy and needle aspiration, as it provides real-time imaging of the soft tissues of the body.
There is no ionizing radiation used during the ultrasound procedure, and it is generally easier to perform and less expensive for both patient and doctor than other imaging procedures.
Ultrasound imaging is considered safe for all patients with no known risks. It can be repeated as often as needed.
What happens with the ultrasound results?The results of your ultrasound procedure are analyzed by a radiologist, a physician who specializes in the administration and interpretation of imaging examinations. The results will then be sent to your primary or referring doctor. In some cases, the radiologist will discuss the outcome of your procedure upon completion.
What are the types of ultrasound?
Ultrasound can be used to produce images of the internal structures within nearly any area of the body, allowing for clear, detailed visualization of a wide range of conditions. Masses, tumors, infections and other abnormalities can be easily detected using ultrasound. This procedure can also be used as imaging guidance for biopsy, needle placement and other types of treatment.
All ultrasound procedures are considered safe and painless, with no major side effects or complications. In most cases, the exam is performed by applying a cool gel to the skin, before moving a transducer back and forth to emit sound waves and create images of the bones, tissue, ligaments, joints and other structures within the body. The results are visible on a monitor during the procedure.
What is NCV testing?A nerve conduction velocity test is commonly used to evaluate the function of the motor and sensory nerves of the body.
What is BAER testing?Brainstem auditory evoked potential tests the ear and the brain for auditory and brainstem disorders.
What is VEP testing?Visual evoked potential test checks the nerves that go from the eye to the visual cortex. The VEP is used to identify impaired transmission along the optic nerve pathways.
What is SSEP testing?Somatosensory evoked potential (SSEP) tests evaluate the nerve pathway from the peripheral nerve through the spine to the somatosensory region of the brain. (“Somato” means body; “sensory” means the reception and transmission of sense impressions.) SSEP tests are useful in evaluating spinal cord injuries or disease, neuromuscular disease, and demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
What is ABI testing?The ankle-brachial index test is an accurate, non-invasive way to assess your risk for peripheral artery disease, a condition in which the arteries in the legs and ankles are narrowed. People with peripheral artery disease are at a higher risk of heart attack, stroke and poor circulation. The Ankle Brachial Index (ABI) is the ratio of the blood pressure in the lower legs to the blood pressure in the arms.
What are Urodynamics tests?Urodynamics is a series of individual tests that help diagnose incontinence issues. These studies enable your physician to prescribe treatment options for you to alleviate this problem.