Ultrasound imaging uses high–frequency sound waves to produce images of structures within the body. The high–frequency sound waves are emitted from a small handheld wand placed directly above the area to be imaged. The sound waves reflect off internal structures, allowing the computer to generate a real-time image.
This noninvasive, painless procedure is ideal for monitoring the function of internal organs, and is commonly used to evaluate:
- Abdominal organs
- Pelvic organs, including fetuses and testes
- Thyroid gland
- Blood flow in arteries and veins
- Soft tissues of the chest, abdomen, and extremities
There is no radiation associated with ultrasound imaging.
How Is an Ultrasound Performed?
The ultrasound examination usually takes 15 to 45 minutes to complete. The procedure is non-invasive and is generally painless unless the area to be scanned is tender. You may return to your normal activities after the exam.
Your technologist will guide you through the ultrasound exam, which generally involves:
- Change into a hospital gown
- Recline on an exam table
- A clear gel is applied to your skin above the area to be scanned
- The handheld wand is gently moved through the gel
- The real–time image is displayed on a computer monitor
- After the scan, the gel will be removed
Preparing for Your Ultrasound Procedure
We strive to make your ultrasound as pleasant as possible. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns. Minimal preparation is needed for most ultrasound procedures.
A few helpful hints include:
- Wear loose comfortable clothing, or you may change into a hospital gown.
- If the ultrasound involves the abdomen, please refrain from eating or drinking for 8 hours before the ultrasound.
- If the ultrasound involves the bladder, please drink several glasses of water. A full bladder aids the scan.