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ultrasoundAn ultrasound involves using high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of inside the body. These high-frequency sound waves are inaudible to the human ear and are transmitted through the body using an instrument called a transducer. As these sound waves bounce off internal organs, fluids and tissues the transducer records tiny changes in the sounds pitch and direction. These waves are measured and displayed using a computer, and used to create an image on the monitor.

Why an Ultrasound?

An ultrasound creates images of soft tissue structures including:

  • Gallbladder
  • Liver
  • Heart
  • Kidneys
  • Pancreas
  • Bladder
  • Thyroid gland
  • Prostate
  • Female reproductive organs
  • Babies inside the uterus
  • Testicles
  • Breast

Ultrasounds can also be used to measure:

  • The flow of blood in the arteries and veins and detect blockages
  • Cysts or abnormal growths in the liver, spleen or pancreas
  • Abnormal enlargement of the spleen
  • Cancer of the liver
  • Gallstones
  • Heart conditions and damage after a heart attack

How to Prepare for Your Ultrasound

Ultrasounds are fairly simple, non-invasive tests that usually require no special preparation. You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your exam, and you may be required to remove all of your clothing and jewelry in the area being scanned. You may also be asked to wear a gown during the procedure.

Any required preparation will depend on the type of examination you’ll have, with many requiring no preparation at all. For some tests, however, your physician my instruct you not to eat or drink for 12 hours before your procedure, while for other tests you may be instructed to drink up to 6 glasses of water two hours prior to your exam and avoid urination so your bladder is full. If preparation is required, please follow your physician’s instructions carefully so we can obtain an accurate reading.

Your physician will give you a complete set of instructions before your ultrasound so you can be fully prepared for it. If you have any questions as to what you need to do, or how the procedure is performed, you should ask your doctor.

During Your Ultrasound

During your ultrasound you will most likely be asked to lay face-up on an examination table that is padded and can be titled or moved. A registered diagnostic medical sonographer will perform the exam. He or she will begin by applying a small amount of a clear, water-based gel to the area of your body being studied. This gel is not harmful to your skin and can be wiped off as soon as the test is complete. The radiology technician will then take the transducer to your skin, pressing it down slightly in various locations. You may be asked to hold your breath for brief periods of time.

The ultrasound will only last several minutes, after which the radiologist will read the exam and study the images. The radiologist will send the results to your physician who will discuss them with you. This is a painless procedure and there are no known risks to having an ultrasound done.

Our caring, experienced radiology staff performs ultrasounds at hospital. If you have questions about an upcoming ultrasound, you can contact our radiology staff by calling (740) 623-4132.