Diagnostic ultrasound, also known as Medical sonography (ultrasonography) is an ultrasound-based diagnostic medical imaging technique used to visualize muscles, tendons, and many internal organs, to capture their size, structure and any pathological lesions with real time tomographic images. Our staff uses this successfully to help many of our patients understand the extent of their condition.
Ultrasound has been used by radiologists and sonographers to image the human body for at least 50 years and has become one of the most widely used diagnostic tools in modern medicine. The technology is relatively inexpensive and portable, especially when compared with other techniques, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT).
As currently applied in the medical field, properly performed ultrasound poses no known risks to the patient. Sonography is generally described as a “safe test” because it does not use mutagenic ionizing radiation, which can pose hazards such as chromosome breakage and cancer development. However, ultrasonic energy has two potential physiological effects: it enhances inflammatory response; and it can heat soft tissue.
Ultrasound energy produces a mechanical pressure wave through soft tissue. This pressure wave may cause microscopic bubbles in living tissues and distortion of the cell membrane, influencing ion fluxes and intracellular activity. When ultrasound enters the body, it causes molecular friction and heats the tissues slightly. This effect is typically very minor as normal tissue perfusion dissipates most of the heat.
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A nerve conduction study (NCS) is a test commonly used to evaluate the function of nerves. This test is used to look at the ability of electrical conduction of the motor and sensory nerves of the human body. Our Proactive area team uses this test to help determine the best course of care for some of our patients.
Nerve conduction velocity (NCV) is a common measurement made during this test. The term NCV often is used to mean the actual test, but this may be misleading since velocity is only one measurement in the test suite.
Nerve conduction studies are primarily used for evaluation of paresthesias (which is numbness, tingling and/or burning) and/or weakness of the arms and legs. The type of study needed depends in part by the symptoms of the patient. A physical exam and thorough medical history also help. Some of the common disorders which can be diagnosed by nerve conduction studies are:
• Peripheral neuropathy
• Carpal tunnel syndrome
• Guillain-Barré syndrome
• Spinal disc herniation
• Ulnar neuropathy
• Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy