WHAT IS AN ULTRASOUND?
An ultrasound is a diagnostic procedure that uses high frequency sound waves to image the body. Unlike an X-ray, an ultrasound procedure does not use radiation. Instead, a small microphone-like transducer is placed on the area of interest. High frequency sound waves are emitted and produce echoes from the internal tissues and organs. The transducer converts the echoes to electrical signals to create an image.
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR THE ULTRASOUND PROCEDURE?
- We request that you arrive 15-30 minutes prior to your scheduled procedure time to complete paperwork and to change clothes if necessary.
- Wear comfortable clothing. You may be given a clinic gown and asked to undress from the waist up or waist down.
- Please bring the written prescription your physician gave you for this procedure.
- Always follow the instructions given when your appointment is scheduled. For abdominal or gallbladder ultrasound, do not eat or drink after midnight the night before your procedure.
- For a pelvic or first trimester obstetrical ultrasound, a full bladder is needed. Thus, you will be instructed by scheduling personnel to consume approximately 32 ounces of water an hour prior to your appointment time.
- Typically, for all other ultrasound examinations, no special preparations are necessary.
- We strongly encourage you to ask questions and discuss any concerns you may have prior to your procedure. Communication with our patients is an important part of the service we provide.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT DURING THE ULTRASOUND PROCEDURE?
- You may be asked to change into a clinic gown and will be escorted to the ultrasound room.
- An ultrasound technologist will assist you onto a padded exam table and position you for the procedure.
- The ultrasound technologist will apply a warm gel to the skin of the area to be examined. The gel enhances the quality of the images.
- A transducer will be placed on the skin and moved around to obtain different images.
- The images will appear on the TV monitor and will be printed on imaging film for review by the radiologist.
- If you are having a pelvic or first trimester OB ultrasound, a special imaging transducer may also be used. This transducer is placed inside the vagina. This method allows detailed imaging to provide additional information for a more accurate evaluation.
- Our goal is to provide you with a pleasant and comfortable ultrasound procedure. If you are uncomfortable in any way, please inform your ultrasound technologist.
HOW LONG WILL THE ULTRASOUND PROCEDURE TAKE?
The length of your ultrasound will depend on the type of procedure your physician has ordered. Abdomen, gallbladder, kidney, pelvis, breast, thyroid and testicular ultrasounds usually take 30 minutes or less. Obstetrical ultrasounds generally take approximately 45 minutes. Doppler exams, which evaluate the blood flow in your vessels, may last from 45 to 60 minutes, depending on which blood vessels are studied.
WHEN DO I GET MY ULTRASOUND RESULTS?
Our certified ultrasound technologist will prepare your ultrasound images for the radiologist to evaluate. The radiologist will interpret your results and dictate a written report, which will be forwarded to your physician generally within 24 to 48 hours of completion of your procedure. Your physician will convey the results of the procedure to you.