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What is an Ultrasound?

Ultrasound imaging helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves using sound waves to produce images of the body. Ultrasound can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels (called Doppler Ultrasound).

What does the equipment look like?

Ultrasound consists of two parts - a small console containing electronics and video display screen, and a transducer. The transducer is a small hand-held device placed on the body to send and receive sound signals.

How to prepare and what to expect

Examination is painless and is usually completed within 15 to 30 minutes.

For a study of the liver, gallbladder, spleen, and pancreas, you may be asked to fast for 6 hours prior to the test. You may take your medication as directed by your personal physician.

For ultrasound of the urinary bladder, uterus and ovaries (female organ ), you will be asked to drink four to six glasses of liquid about an hour before the test to fill your bladder.

You will need to remove all clothing and jewelry in the area to be examined and change into a gown during the procedure.

For most ultrasound exams, you will be lying face-up on a comfortable examination table.

A clear gel is applied to the area of the body being studied and a transducer is placed against the skin over the area of interest, as images are taken. Once the exam is complete, the gel will be wiped off your skin. After an ultrasound exam, you should be able to resume your normal activities.

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American College of Radiology Accreditations