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Learn more about your Ultrasound

Imaging Division

What is an Ultrasound?

Ultrasound is also called sonography and is used many ways in medicine. Some of the common uses are to diagnose conditions, physicians may use it to guide them through a medical procedure and it is commonly used to determine the date of a pregnancy. Ultrasound has a safe record of using non-ionizing radiation to produce images in "real time". The images provided during the diagnostic ultrasound will assist your physician in accurately diagnosing and treating certain diseases and conditions.
Ultrasound uses include:
  • Abdominal ultrasound: Used to evaluate the organs in the abdomen including the liver, gallbladder, kidneys, pancreas, and spleen as well as the bowel and appendix in certain instances.
  • Pelvic ultrasound: Ultrasound is used to evaluate the pelvis to explore the reason behind abnormal bleeding or pain. It may also be used to examine the prostate or bladder, in men.

Common Questions

What do I need to do to prepare for my ultrasound?
The preparation will depend on the type of exam that you need. Our staff will provide the information on preparation when you schedule your appointment. Some exams require fasting before the study.

How should I dress?
It is best to wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing for your exam. Certain exams require you to wear a gown.

What happens during the ultrasound?
Our board-certified GI radiologist and/or a highly trained sonologist will perform the diagnostic ultrasound. The patient will lie horizontal on an examination table in our dedicated ultrasound imaging room. First they apply a clear gel to area that is being investigated - the gel improves image quality. Next an ultrasound transducer (small hand-held device) will be placed on the area of interest. Our sonologist will review the finding with the radiologist.

Are there risks to having a diagnostic ultrasound?
Diagnostic ultrasound is a safe procedure that uses low power sound waves. There are no direct risks from this exam.

How long will my exam last?
The exam takes 30-45 minutes

Exam Preparation

Get the guidelines. Most ultrasounds require no preparation but you may be asked to eliminate food and liquids for up to six hours before an exam.

How will I know the results of my ultrasound?
After your exam, our subspecialized radiologist will analyze the images and send a report to your doctor, who will contact you with the results.