Ultrasound imaging (also called sonography) is a noninvasive procedure which uses sound waves to create real-time images of the human body. No x-rays are involved.

What are some common uses of Ultrasound?

  • Detect early pregnancy and study the unborn fetus.

  • Examining many of the body’s internal organs, including the heart, liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, uterus, testicles and ovaries

  • Enable physicians to see blood flow and aneurysms.

  • Detect stones in the gallbladder, bile ducts, or kidneys.

  • Provide image guidance for needle biopsies of the breast, thyroid gland, and other organs.

How should I prepare for an ultrasound?

  • Bring a copy of the order for the procedure from your referring physician, your insurance card, and photo identification.

  • Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing.

  • Take your usual medications.

No special preparation is needed for most ultrasound examinations. Requirements for specific examinations are listed below:

  • Female pelvis and pregnancy: should drink four to six glasses of water one to two hours before the examination. Do not to pass urine for 2 hours before the test.

  • Aorta: Nothing to eat or drink 4 hours prior to exam.

  • Gallbladder: Nothing to eat or drink 6-8 hours prior to the examination.

  • Liver/Pancreas/Spleen: Nothing to eat or drink 6-8 hours prior to the examination.

  • Kidneys: Nothing to eat or drink 4 hours prior to the examination. 1 hour prior to the examination please drink 24 ounces of water. Do not use the restroom until after the study.

  • Breast: Please bring prior mammograms and ultrasounds.

What should I expect during this exam?

The examination usually takes less than 30 minutes. After being positioned on the exam table, a clear gel is applied in the area being examined. This helps the transducer make contact with the skin. The technologist firmly presses the transducer against the skin and moves it back and forth to image the area of interest.

Generally, the technologist is able to review the ultrasound images in real-time or, when the examination is complete and the gel is wiped off, you may be asked to dress and wait while the ultrasound images are reviewed.

What will I experience during the procedure?

After being positioned on the table a special warm gel is applied to your skin. The gel improves the transmission of sound waves between the body and the ultrasound transducer. In some ultrasound examinations, the transducer is attached to a probe and inserted into a natural opening in the body. These exams include:

  • Transrectal ultrasound – The transducer is inserted into the rectum to view the prostate gland.

  • Transvaginal ultrasound – The transducer is inserted into the vagina to view the uterus, ovaries, and developing baby.

Ultrasonic waves are inaudible and cause no sensation, though pressure from the transducer might be slightly uncomfortable. Most ultrasound examinations are completed within 30 minutes.

What should I do after the examination?

  • When your examination is over, you may resume your normal daily activities unless otherwise instructed by your doctor. One of our board-certified radiologists will review the images and send a report to your physician. You can discuss the results of your examination with your physician.