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Friendship Springs Veterinary Care serving Flowery Branch, Braselton, and Buford since 2006.
Your best friend's veterinarian and animal hospital.
Ultrasound & X-Rays
We are happy we are able to offer both radiography (x-rays) and ultrasonography imaging modalities for your pet. By offering both techniques we are able to offer the best that both have to offer and improve our diagnostic capabilities for your pet. Both are non-invasive, non-painful ways to image the abdominal cavity and its many organs, including the liver and gall bladder, spleen, adrenal glands, kidneys and bladder, pancreas, lymph nodes, abdominal lymph nodes, and gastrointestinal tract. We can also use them to image other body parts; the imaging method we use depends on the body part.
What Is The Difference Between X-Rays and Ultrasound?
X-rays are a form of radiation produced by a generator in the x-ray machine. These waves pass through the patient. Some of the rays pass all the way through the patient. Some are blocked. The ones that successfully pass all the way through expose the film in the plate on the other side of the patient to create an image we can develop and see.
An ultrasound system works without radiation. It works by sending high frequency sound waves (ultrasonic waves) through the body wall and organs. Some of the waves bounce off the tissues and return to the probe. The pattern of these waves as they return are translated by a computer into viewable images on the monitor screen.
From a more practical point-of-view x-rays allow us to see the whole forest instead of just the individual trees. That is, the whole abdomen is viewed in the picture. This allows us to see the size of each organ, their relationships to each other, and evaluate for the presence of things that don't belong. However, we don't get to see inside each organ to judge the nature of changes that might be present. Also, x-rays are the preferred method for imaging the chest, bone, and large body parts.
On the other hand ultrasound allows us to see individual trees but not the forest. We get to see inside the individual organs in great detail and assess their condition. Additionally, we can evaluate some things that don't show up well on x-ray images, such as the great vessels of the abdomen and the adrenal glands. But, we don't get to see organs in their relationship to other organs very well. Also, because we are “standing” so close, we may miss something that might be apparent on a radiograph. Ultrasonography is the preferred method for evaluating soft tissue structures.
So, sometimes x-rays are better. Sometimes ultrasound is better. And, sometimes we are better off doing both, using them to complement each other. For example, a medium-sized mass in the abdomen in the area near the spleen, liver, and stomach may be found on x-rays, but we may not be able to tell which organ is associated with it or whether it is solid, gas or fluid-filled. These are things we can determine with ultrasound. On the other hand if the mass is not very large, while it may cause changes on the x-rays, if the abdomen was examined with ultrasound alone, the mass might be more easily missed altogether.