FAQs about Ultrasound
What is Ultrasound?
An ultrasound is a diagnostic test that uses high frequency soundwaves to image the body. Unlike an X-ray, an ultrasound exam does not use radiation. Instead, a small microphone-like transducer is placed on the area of interest. High frequency soundwaves are emitted and produce echoes from the internal tissues and organs. The transducer converts the echoes to electric signals to create an image.
How do I prepare?
Always follow the instructions given when your appointment is scheduled. For an abdominal or gallbladder ultrasound, do not eat or drink after midnight the night before your exam. For a pelvic, renal or first trimester obstetrical ultrasound a full bladder is needed to conduct the test. Thus, please consume 32 ounces of water one hour prior to your appointment time. For all other ultrasound examinations, typically no special preparations are necessary.
What Should I Expect?
- We recommend that you wear comfortable, washable clothing. You may be given a hospital gown and asked to undress from the waist up or waist down.
- A technologist will assist you with your positioning on the exam table.
- The technologist will apply a warm gel to the skin of the examined area. This process 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 sent to the Radiologist for review.
- If you are having a pelvic or first trimester OB ultrasound, a special transducer will also be used. This transducer is placed inside the vagina. Using this method, detailed images provide additional information for a more accurate evaluation.
How long does the exam take?
The length of your ultrasound will depend on the type of exam your physician has ordered. Abdomen, gallbladder, kidney, pelvis, breast, thyroid, and testicular ultrasounds usually take thirty minutes or less. Obstetrical ultrasounds take approximately forty-five minutes. Doppler exams, which evaluate the blood flow in your vessels, last from forty-five minutes to one and one-half hours, depending on which blood vessels are studied.
Our highly skilled registered technologists will produce images for a radiologist to evaluate. The radiologist will study your results and produce a report, which then is forwarded to your physician.
Should you have any questions about your ability to participate in this examination, or if you wish to know more about ultrasound, consult your physician or contact our office and we will be happy to assist you.
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