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What is Ultrasound (Sonography)?

Considered much safer than x-rays, ultrasound works like sonar to create pictures. Ultrasound uses sound waves to look within the body much like sonar is used in the ocean. A radiologist or technologist places a transducer on the area to be scanned. Echoes from the internal anatomy are translated into faint signals, which are processed by a computer into a video imager to produce diagnostic images. Color-flow Doppler shows in picture and sound the flow and currents of blood. Doppler allow the radiologist to see and hear how much irregularity exists or whether the blood is flowing at all.


What to Expect

You will be asked to lie down on a padded table for the exam. The technologist will apply a lubricating gel to the area to be scanned and will move a device called a transducer over the skin, the image will appear on the video imager (TV screen). You may be asked to hold your breath or assume different positions, depending on the exam ordered. Some patients experience slight discomfort due to the fullness of their bladder. During specific types of pelvic exams a transducer may be inserted into the vagina.


Instructions vary depending upon the body part to be scanned.

Gallbladder, Spleen, Pancreas, Liver and Aorta Ultrasound Preparation:

If any barium studies (such as upper GI, barium enema) have been ordered, you will have the ultrasound first. You may not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the exam. You can have small amounts of water only if need for medication.

Kidney Ultrasound Preparation:

You may eat and drink as usual, especially beverages, so that you are not dehydrated. You do not need to hold fluids in your bladder.

Thyroid Ultrasound, Breast Ultrasound

No preparation is need.

Pelvic & OB Preparation:

If any barium studies ( such as upper GI, barium enema) have been ordered, you will have the ultrasound first. Finish drinking 32-40 ounces of non-carbonated fluid at least one hour before your appointment. Water is preferred; coffee, tea or juice is also permitted. You should eat before drinking fluids. Do not void before your ultrasound exam. This exam must be performed while your bladder is full

How Long Will it Take?

Exams times vary depending on the body part being scanned. Our technologist can give you an estimate based upon the exam you are having.
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