Ultrasound, which is also called a sonogram, is a noninvasive test that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the body’s internal organs, tissues and vascular system. This is a very safe procedure and does not expose the patient to radiation.
Understanding Ultrasound Imaging
Most ultrasound procedures employ a sonar device called a transducer that is moved along the outside of your body. The transducer sends out sound waves, which bounce off tissues inside of your body. The transducer captures the waves that bounce back. Images are then created from the sound waves.
An ultrasound is especially useful for evaluating superficial tissues and fluid-filled structures such as:
- Evaluating a fetus
- Diagnosing gallbladder disease
- Evaluating flow in blood vessels
- Guiding a biopsy
- Studying your heart
- Diagnosing certain infections and certain types of cancer like breast cancer
- Evaluating abnormalities or growths in your muscles, tendons and other parts of your body.
- Examining the uterus, ovaries, or testicles.
Resources and Support
Wellstar provides state-of-the-art ultrasound procedures at all of its imaging centers.
Before the procedure
Most ultrasound exams require no preparation. Two specific ultrasound examinations that Wellstar administers require minimal preparation. These include:
- FPelvic/Obstetrical (OB) ultrasound. This examination requires the patient to have a full bladder. You will need to drink 32 ounces of non-carbonated liquid 30 minutes prior to your exam and refrain from using the restroom until the examination is finished. If you are having a pelvic or first trimester pregnancy ultrasound, a transducer may be needed to be inserted into the vagina to obtain images. A sterile protective sheath covers the transducer for each patient.
- Abdomen/Gallbladder/Liver/Pancreas/Aorta ultrasound. For this examination, the patient should refrain from eating or drinking for at least 4 hours before the procedure. You may take medications with a small amount of water, if needed.
During the procedure
An ultrasound is fast, easy and painless. When you arrive at the Wellstar imaging center, you will be asked to fill out a medical history form and listen to a brief explanation of the procedure.
For the examination, you may be asked to put on a gown before being assisted onto an examination table. A warm gel will be applied to the area being examined. A technologist will gently move an ultrasound transducer across that area of your body. Images will be transferred to a computer monitor where they can be viewed in real time.
Most ultrasound examinations take about 30 to 45 minutes.
After the procedure
Once you have completed an ultrasound, you may resume your normal, everyday activities. Results typically are available immediately, and your Wellstar radiologist may discuss them with you at the conclusion of the examination. A final written report will subsequently be made available to you and your referring doctor.