What is ultrasound?
Ultrasound imaging, also know as ultrasound screening or sonography, is a way of obtaining an inside view of the human body using high frequency sound waves. No x-rays are involved in the ultrasound scanning technique.
Ultrasound equipment is comprised of a unit that looks like a computer monitor mounted on a console. A transducer, a small, hand-held, non-invasive device that looks like a microphone, is gently moved across the patient’s body surface by the sonographer in order to generate an image. Gel is spread onto the skin and the transducer is pressed firmly against the skin to obtain the image. Most exams take about 30 minutes to complete.
What do you use ultrasound for?
Most women are familiar with obstetrical ultrasound which is commonly used in determining the size, age, position (and sometimes the sex and number) of their unborn baby or babies.
Abdominal ultrasound is used to examine both soft tissue and organs (such as the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and aorta). With this information, radiologists can determine the causes of pain, such as gallstones or kidney stones, size of masses and cysts, or other abnormalities. Because the images are live, an ultrasound enables doctors to study blood flow in arteries and veins on a “real-time” basis. This allows treating physicians to determine potential blood clots or plaque build-up within the vessel walls.
How do I prepare for an ultrasound study?
- Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your exam. The preparations for an ultrasound vary depending on the body part you are having scanned.
- If you are having an ultrasound of any Upper Abdominal Organ do not eat 8 hours prior to your exam.
- If you are having an ultrasound of your Pelvis you will need to have a full bladder for this exam. Do not empty your bladder 2 hours before the exam.
- No prep is needed if you are having an ultrasound of your Breast, Extremity or other body parts (i.e., Thyroid).