Ultrasound: FSA Eligibility
What is ultrasound?
Ultrasound has myriad medical uses, but at its core ultrasound are types of oscillating, high-frequency sound waves that are unable to be heard within a human's hearing range. Ultrasound is most commonly used as a means of medical imaging, but it also has a wide variety of potential medical uses (Healthline). These are the two primary clinical methods in which ultrasound is utilized:
- Diagnostic Ultrasound: Also known as sonography, this form of ultrasound creates images of organs and structures inside the body so they can be examined for any abnormalities. The portion of the body to be checked is first covered with a clear, water-based gel that helps with the transmission of sound waves. A handheld probe is placed over the area and images can then be captured in real-time to examine for any abnormalities that may be the signs of an underlying medical issue.
- Therapeutic Ultrasound: This technique has been used for decades by physical therapists and other medical professionals to promote an increase in healing, relaxation of the tissues, improvement of local blood flow and the breakdown of scar tissue. Therapeutic ultrasound is conducted using a probe that comes into contact with the skin with contact gel. This allows ultrasound waves to pass through the skin and vibrate the soft tissues underneath, and the probe is kept in constant motion for 3-5 minutes.
What are the primary uses for ultrasound?
In regards to diagnostic ultrasound, this technique is most commonly known for its role in prenatal care by providing an image of the uterus and ovaries to assess the health of a fetus. Additionally, the technique is used to diagnose some cancers, examine blood flow in the vessels themselves, assist in performing biopsies, examining thyroids, as well as prostate and testicle abnormalities.
Therapeutic ultrasound is primarily used in the field of physical therapy to treat soft tissue injuries and speed recovery times. This technique can play a major role in treating ligament/muscle sprains, bursitis, facet irritation, joint inflammation, scar tissue adhesion, plantar fasciitis and other debilitating injuries that typically require some form of physical therapy (Radiological Society of North America).