Ultrasound, also called sonography, is a safe and painless diagnostic medical procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce dynamic visual images of organs, tissues or blood flow inside the body.
Help CenterWhy would someone need an Ultrasound?
How should I prepare?
What should I expect during my procedure?
What will I experience during the procedure?
When and how will I find the results of my test?
Are there any health risks associated with Ultrasound?
Why would someone need an Ultrasound?Print
Ultrasound is used for many reasons, including but not limited to:
- Obstetric ultrasound - used to evaluate pregnancy and the fetus
- Abdominal ultrasound - used to evaluate the kidneys, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen and abdominal aorta
- Carotid ultrasound - most frequently used to detect narrowing, or plaque buildup, of the carotid artery
- Musculoskeletal ultrasound - used to produce images of soft tissue throughout the body
- Pelvic ultrasound - used to provide images of the structures and organs in the pelvis. Peninsula Imaging performs abdominal (transabdominal) and vaginal (transvaginal, endovaginal) for women
- Scrotal ultrasound - ultrasound imaging of the scrotum which is the primary imaging methods used to evaluate disorders of the testicles
- Thyroid ultrasound - used to produce pictures of the thyroid gland (thyroid gland is located in front of the neck just below the Adam's apple)
- Vascular ultrasound - provides pictures of the body's veins and arteries and the blood flow
- Venous ultrasound - provides pictures of the veins and blood flow throughout the body, usually performed on the legs
- Breast ultrasound - provides pictures of the internal structures of the breast
How should I prepare for an Ultrasound?Print
It is recommended that you wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You may need to remove all clothing (you will be provided with a gown) and jewelry in the area to be examined. Depending on the type of ultrasound exam you have, you may be asked:
- Not to eat or drink for up to 6 hours before your appointment, or
- Drink up to six glasses of water two hours prior to your exam and avoid urinating. This will ensure a full bladder when the exam begins.
- You will be given detailed instructions for your specific exam by your physician.
What should I expect during this procedure?Print
For most ultrasound exams, the patient is positioned lying face-up on a padded examination table which can be tilted or moved. A clear water-based warm gel is applied to the area of the body being studied to help the transducer make secure contact with the body and eliminate air pockets between the transducer and the skin. The sonographer (Ultrasound Technologist) or Radiologist then presses the transducer against the skin and sweeps it over the area of interest.
The sonographer is able to review the ultrasound images in real-time as they are acquired. If you are scheduled for a transvaginal ultrasound, the transducer is attached to a probe and inserted into a woman's vagina to view the uterus and ovaries.
Most ultrasound examinations are completed within 30 minutes to an hour. Although the ultrasound images are obtained in "real-time", the technologist will not be able to discuss findings with you during or after the exam as the diagnostic images can be read only by a physician.
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What will I experience during the procedure?Print
Most ultrasound examinations are painless. If scanning is performed over an area of tenderness, you may feel pressure or minor pain from the transducer. Once the imaging is complete, the gel will be wiped off your skin. After the procedure you may eat and resume normal activity.
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When and how will I find out the results of my test?One of our on-site radiologists (a physician specifically trained to supervise and interpret radiology examinations) will analyze the images and send a report to your referring physician. Your referring physician will discuss the ultrasound results with you. In some cases the radiologist may discuss results with you at the conclusion of your examination.
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Are there any health risks from having an Ultrasound?Print
Most ultrasound scanning is noninvasive (no needles or injections) and is usually painless. Ultrasound is easy-to-use and less expensive than other imaging methods. Ultrasound imaging uses no ionizing radiation and may be repeated as often as is necessary. Ultrasound is the preferred imaging modality for the diagnosis and monitoring of pregnant women and their unborn babies. There are no known harmful effects on humans associated with ultrasound imaging.
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