Ultrasound, which is painless and harmless, uses very high frequency sound waves to investigate organs and structures in the body. You will not be able to hear the sound waves as they are above the normal hearing range. The transducer which the technologist puts on your skin surface sends out the sound waves and also listens for the returning echoes from your body. The attached computer then analyzes the returning sound waves to give an "image" of the organ or structure within the body. Ultrasound is safe for children and pregnant women. It can be used to investigate most any part of your body.
Some ultrasounds require preps. If you do not see your ordered exam on the list below, there is no particular prep for your exam.
Abdominal, Gallbladder, RUQ (right upper quadrant)
Do not eat or drink for 8 hours prior to your appointment.
Avoid food for 8 hours prior to exam however please continue to drink fluids to keep the kidneys well hydrated.
Trans-abdominal or OB Ultrasound (after 14 weeks): Drink 32 ounces of water at least one hour prior to the exam and do not empty your bladder after that. If your bladder is not full enough you may have to drink more fluids or reschedule your exam.
Pelvic Ultrasound - Transvaginal: No prep. If you are currently having menses call the ultrasound technologist to reschedule.
When you arrive at the hospital, sign in at the front desk in the main lobby. Your personal information and insurance information will be taken by one of the admissions personnel. Then you will be called back to the ultrasound department and asked to change into a hospital gown. You will lie on a table and the ultrasound tech will apply a water-soluble gel to your skin to create good contact between the skin surface and the probe (transducer). The tech will move the probe over a portion or your body and the computer will show images of that part of the body. The images will be studied by the radiologist and a report will be sent to your physician within 2-3 working days.
If you are having a pelvic exam - transvaginal, a female technologist will help you position yourself an exam table like a Gynecologist uses. The probe used for this exam is about the size of a tampon and it is inserted into the vagina to take images of the uterus and ovaries. This is also used in any early OB exam to see the fetus when it is very small.