Diagnostic ultrasonography is an imaging diagnostic tool that allows “to see” the internal body structures such as tendons, muscles, joints, blood vessels and internal organs due to its ability of penetrating the body with relatively less attenuation and more reflection of ultrasound beam compared to x rays. One tends to often think of ultrasonography as a mere diagnostic tool to try to find a source of a disease or to exclude any pathology affecting a specific organ(s), body system(s), interconnected or not. Whereas this is very true, ultrasonography also allows us to perform minimally invasive techniques/manoeuvres to obtains samples of abnormal tissues/fluids/accumulation of abnormal fluids from virtually any part of the body.
Guided procedures such as needle biopsies, in which needles are used to sample cells from an abnormal area for laboratory testing can be easily performed. Due to the unique interactions of ultrasound with matter such as penetration/absorption/reflection diagnostic ultrasonography allows the further characterization of areas of soft tissue swelling either superficially or deeply located inside the body.
Diagnostic ultrasound is widely used in veterinary medicine; it is relatively less expensive compared to most advance imaging modalities and safer since do not use ionizing radiation. Although extremely operator dependent but with everyday experience the operator will be gaining the required skills to obtain diagnostic quality images as well as experience to manoeuvre the needle and obtain diagnostic quality samples from small lesions/small areas of fluid accumulation.
In summary, ultrasonography can be a very useful diagnostic tool to have readily available in your practice or hospital that could change or revolutionize your clinical experience for better patient care.