Ultrasound produces images of soft tissue and organs in the body through the use of sound waves that reflect back and are displayed as a real-time image. Ultrasound can detect diseased or damaged tissues, locate abnormal growths and identify a wide variety of conditions, enabling your radiologist to make a quick and accurate diagnosis.
Ultrasound uses a transducer, a wand-shaped device, that when gently pressed against the skin directs high-frequency sound waves into the body . These sound waves echo back and the transducer electronically converts the reflected waves into very precise images of the body. This is the same principal used to track weather patterns and to guide air traffic. Ionizing radiation (X-ray) is not used in ultrasound making it a safe alternative for imaging pregnant women.
What to expect
Ultrasound examination is performed by a sonographer—a technician trained in ultrasound imaging. The sonographer applies a hypo-allergenic, water-soluble gel to prevent air from getting between your skin and the transducer, a small probe resembling a bar of soap. The sonographer then gently passes the transducer over the skin of the area being examined, producing a sensation of light pressure. The transducer generates and receives the high-frequency sound waves. The computer in the ultrasound unit processes and converts the resulting patterns into detailed images.
During the examination, please relax, remain still when asked and follow other instructions. The examination results will be evaluated by our radiologist who has expertise in interpreting sonograms. The results will be sent to your referring physician within five working days.
Preparation is specific for each procedure. Some ultrasound exams require no preparation, while others require patients to cease eating and drinking for up to 12 hours before the exam. Some ultrasound exams require a full bladder. You will receive instructions if that is necessary for your exam.
Side effects and complications
No side effects or complications are associated with ultrasound exams.