Ultrasound

An effective procedure with a variety of applications

What is Ultrasound?

One of today’s most widely applied diagnostic technologies, ultrasound is used to help assess fetal growth and development, cardiac health, abdominal ailments, pelvic and vascular problems. This painless procedure can also help determine whether a questionable lump is a cyst or a cancerous tumor, or can act as a visual safety guide during a needle biopsy, fluid extraction, or surgery.

This partial list of applications shows how this versatile technology aids physicians in their diagnosis.

How does Ultrasound work?

Through a device called a transducer, ultrasound technology emits high frequency sound waves that bounce off the body’s tissues or organs to create a visual image from the resulting echoes. The ultrasound transducer is coated with a gel, then gently dragged over the surface of the area to be viewed, whether that be the chest to diagnose a heart defect, the abdomen to monitor a newly transplanted kidney, or the leg to detect a vascular occlusion.

Depending upon the type of exam performed – for instance to show the flow of blood through Color Doppler ultrasound or the function of the heart through echocardiography – transducers have varied shapes. With the exception of smaller devices used for vaginal or rectal study, the transducer is used outside the body.

The echo images are shown on a monitor for immediate viewing and also can be recorded for additional study. A registered ultrasound technologist will perform the exam. A radiologist specializing in ultrasound diagnostics will interpret the images during or after the exam.

All of our technicians are RDMS (Registered Diagnostic Medical Sonographer) certified and our facilities are ACR accredited for General and Vascular Ultrasound.

How should you prepare?

You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound exam. Other preparation depends on the type of examination you will have. For some scans your doctor may instruct you not to eat or drink for as many as 12 hours before your appointment. For others you may be asked to drink 24 to 32oz. of water an hour and a half prior to your exam and avoid urinating so that your bladder is full when the scan begins.

Abdominal Ultrasound

Nothing to eat or drink for 8 hours before the examination. Medication should be taken as per your physicians instructions with as little water as possible.

WHY? Eating and drinking changes the normal contour of your abdominal organs. For example: Eating and drinking shrinks the gallbladder.

Pelvic Ultrasound

1½ hours prior to your examination drink 24oz. to 32oz. of water. The water must be consumed within the first 30 minutes. Do NOT empty your bladder until your exam has been completed.

WHY? Your bladder is the window to the uterus. The bladder needs to be expanded (filled) by water so that the ultrasonic frequencies can penetrate through the bladder to see the uterus. If you have not eaten, the water will fill your body first and not your bladder.

Pregnancy Ultrasound