Among our most common ultrasound procedures are:

  • abdominal exams
  • pelvic exams
  • OB (fetal) exams
  • breast exams
  • thyroid exams

The Basics of Ultrasound

Ultrasound is a simple, painless, and safe diagnostic procedure which works by bouncing high-frequency sound waves off of parts of the body and capturing the returning “echoes” as images. There is no radiation associated with an ultrasound exam. Ultrasound images are viewed as “live” images showing various features and functions of the body. Ultrasound captures images of pelvic and abdominal function, breast abnormalities, kidney and thyroid function, and fetal development. The individual performing the examination is a specially-trained certified technologist known as a Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer (RDMS) or more simply, a sonographer.

Ultrasound Patient Preparation

You will be provided specific information about required preparation when your exam is scheduled. Following is a summary of the “prep” required for the more common ultrasound exams:

  • Abdomen exams: for morning appointments, no food, drink or smoking from midnight the night before; for afternoon appointments, light early breakfast with no food, drink or smoking before appointment.
  • Pelvic exams require that you consume approximately 32 ounces of water 1 hour prior to your exam.
  • OB (fetal) ultrasounds: less than 22 weeks requires 32 ounces of water 1 hour prior to exam; greater than 22 weeks requires no prep.
  • Breast exams require no preparation.
  • Thyroid exams require no preparation.

As always, please remember to bring a copy of any related images, test results or reports from other locations as these are an important part of our radiologist’s review of your exam. And, please remember to bring a copy of your insurance card with you.

What Can I Expect from an Ultrasound Exam?

You will be asked to remove articles of clothing or jewelry around the area being examined. The sonographer may give you special instructions during the examination, such as holding your breath to help keep the echoes from blurring. The procedure starts with the sonographer applying a “conducting gel”. The gel acts to help carry the sound waves and enhance the images being returned. The sonographer will then move a probe device known as a transducer over the skin which acts to pass sound waves through the body and capture the echoes. Images are instantly projected onto a television-like monitor and recorded to a digital file or videotape for the radiologist to review and interpret.

Length of Ultrasound Exam

15 minutes (e.g., abdomen) to 60 minutes (e.g. carotid arteries or OB biophysical profile)

Obtaining Ultrasound Results

You should always consult with your doctor to obtain the results of your ultrasound exam. The availability of those results depends on the nature of the exam, the findings of the radiologist and the specific needs of your doctor with respect to recommending a treatment plan.