Ultrasound for Medical Students

Ultrasound utilizes non-ionizing radiation to image the soft tissues of the body. It is very commonly used to assess the organs of the abdomen, pelvis, heart, other soft tissue and the brain and spinal cord in pediatric patients. Because it is non-ionizing, it is often the preferred modality for image guided procedures such as thoracentesis, paracentesis, abscess drainage, and organ biopsy.

Goals and objectives

  • Discuss the role of abdominal ultrasound in the assessment of an acute trauma patient
  • What does acute blood look like on the FAST Exam?
  • What are the Risks of Scanning a low pretest probability patient versus the Risks of Not Scanning?
  • Summarize the benefits and limitations of ultrasound as an imaging modality
  • What body habitus is best suited for abdominal ultrasound? How does this differ with CT of the abdomen?
  • Explain why ultrasound is a good modality for assessing vascular structures
  • Describe the role of ultrasound in the workup of the following symptoms: Right upper quadrant pain renal colic, suspected appendicitis, evaluation of a breast mass, first trimester vaginal bleeding, post menopausal vaginal bleeding, female pelvic pain, testicular torsion