When you hear the word ultrasound, what springs to mind? If you’re like most, it’s probably the joy of a new life, the somewhat blurry images of babies yet to be born. As important, and as widespread, as fetal ultrasound is, there’s so much more to it than that!
Mom-to-be ultrasounds aside, this imaging technology is the second- most commonly used diagnostic imaging procedure in the United States. It has applications in diagnosing and treating heart disease; in understanding conditions affecting the circulatory system; determining the nature of various lumps and bumps; helping physicians deliver medications directly to injured areas; breaking up kidney stones; and more.
Physicians and healthcare providers turn to ultrasound so often because of its utility; its safety; the fact that patients are not exposed to radiation; its ability to record the functioning of organs in real time; its portability; and its affordability. Ultrasound technology is so useful that it has been labeled “the stethoscope of modern medicine!”
Principles and history of ultrasound
As the name implies, ultrasound makes use of sound waves at very high frequencies. The principle is very similar to the way whales, dolphins, bats and other animals locate objects and navigate through their environments.
During an ultrasound, high-frequency sound waves (1 – 10 megahertz) are directed at the body structure using a hand-held device called a transducer. As sound waves bounce back, the transducer picks up the echoes and feeds data regarding their speed and intensity into a computer. The computer analyzes this data to create the ultrasound image.
Although the ancient Greeks realized the power of sound, it wasn’t until the early 20th Century that knowledge and need converge to create this powerful technique. Blast shocks from the bombing of Britain during World War II often resulted in damage to internal organs. The problem was so vexing that Royal Army Surgeon John J. Wild began searching for a non-invasive way to evaluate these injuries. Wild’s attention turned to ultrasound, which up to that time had been used in military and industrial applications.
After the war, Wild emigrated to the U.S., where he continued his work. In 1949, he discovered that sonic energy was reflected as echoes from soft biological tissues. It was an accidental discovery, but one that earned Wild recognition as the father of medical ultrasound.
The tremendous versatility and portability of ultrasound technology has made it an extremely valuable testing modality. Today, ultrasound machines can be found in the battlefield, helping to evaluate injuries and trauma and speeding appropriate treatment for military personnel.
Closer to home, Lexington Diagnostic Center provides this imaging technology in its comfortable and convenient center on Harrodsburg Road. Here, ultrasound is used to evaluate gallstones; kidney tumors; kidney stones; liver cysts and other tumors; the thyroid; blood clots in the legs; testicular masses; and abnormalities in the ovaries and uterus. Ultrasound is also used to evaluate hip problems in children and in the diagnosis of circulatory conditions.
Choosing Lexington Diagnostic Center for your medical imaging is the right choice in so many ways: convenience, comfort, quality, satisfaction, and price. In addition to ultrasound services, Lexington Diagnostic Center offers MRI, CT, nuclear medicine studies, DexaScan, and general x-ray testing. When your doctor orders a diagnostic imaging exam for you, remember – you have a choice. Call Lexington Diagnostic Center at (859) 278-7226 to learn how we can help you!
In celebration of the first anniversary of Dr. Harris’s leadership of Lexington Diagnostic Center, we asked him a few questions about what makes LDC special.
Q. Why does Lexington Diagnostic Center stand above other imaging centers?
A. Our approach to imaging is to treat our patients like we would our family. There are hundreds of questions that come up in a given day, many of which can result in difficult decisions. We always start the decision process with, “what would I do if it was my family member?” This almost always answers the question. This philosophy has instilled a sense of family between our employees and our patients. Also, because Lexington is a small community, many of our patients literally are family.
Q. What is the one thing you would tell a patient who was apprehensive about coming to LDC for a test?
A. We understand how scary medical imaging can be for patients. People are fearful of what we may find. It’s important for them to know that all our employees are very compassionate. We take care of our patients from the moment they walk in the door until they leave. Most of our employees have been doing this for a long time. Their experience is invaluable when it comes to helping apprehensive patients through what can be a scary process.
Q. What do you love most about living and working in Central Kentucky?
A. I have always said Kentucky is one of the most underrated places to live in the United States. I was born and raised in Kentucky. Through my education and training, I have had the opportunity to live many different places. There really is no place like home.
Jason S. Harris, MD, MBA
Owner, Lexington Diagnostic Center
Lexington Diagnostic Center
1725 Harrodsburg Road
Lexington, KY 40504