What is an ultrasound and is it safe?
Ultrasounds are the utilizations of high frequency sound waves used to image particular organs in the body. In most cases, a sonographer trained in ultrasound obtains and records the images required for diagnosis. The radiologist or physician reviews the images and then issues an official interpretation.
There are no known harmful effects associated with the medical use of sonography.
How should I prepare for the procedure?
Upper abdominal exams require the patient to fast. Pelvic or lower abdominal ultrasounds might require the patient to obtain a full urinary bladder. If you have a question or are unsure of the required preparation, please call your physician’s office or the ultrasound department.
Studies that require an NPO (nothing by mouth) status (minimum of six hours prior to exams):
- Abdominal doppler
- Renal doppler
Studies that may require hydration:
- Pelvic sonograms (drink 40 ounces of water 45 minutes prior to study)
- Obstetrical sonograms
- Transrectal prostate exams
- You will need to administer a Fleet type enema at least one hour prior to exam.
What will I experience during the procedure?
Once you arrive for your exam, you will be asked to lie down on an exam table. In some cases, you may be asked to change into a hospital gown before the exam.
- The sonographer will apply warm gel to the part of your body being examined, then move an instrument called a transducer over the area(s) of interest to obtain specific images for the radiologist’s interpretation.
- You may be asked to assume a series of different positions (i.e., lie on your side, sit up, etc.).
- The results of all exams will be sent to the requesting physician, who will then communicate those results to you.
How long will the exam take?
Your exam will vary between 15 minutes to one hour, depending on the exam requested by your physician and the number of exams ordered.
Where should outpatients check in for their exams?
Outpatients who require routine diagnostic ultrasound exams should check in at the counter on the fifth floor of the Scurlock Tower.