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Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, is a method of obtaining images from inside the human body using high-frequency sound waves. The reflected sound wave echoes are recorded and displayed as a real-time visual image on a computer screen. No ionizing radiation (X-ray) is involved in ultrasound imaging. Obstetric ultrasound refers to the specialized use of sound waves to visualize and determine the condition of a pregnant woman and her fetus.

How Should You Prepare for Ultrasound?

Your preparation instruction will vary based on the type of ultrasound you are having:

Ultrasound is a useful way of examining many of the body’s internal organs, including the heart, liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and bladder. Because ultrasound images are captured in real time, they can show movement of internal tissues and organs and enable physicians to see blood flow and heart valve functions. This can help us diagnose a variety of heart conditions and assess damage after a heart attack or other illness.


Carotid, Thyroid, Breast, Scrotal, Echocardiography

No preparation is required.

Gallbladder, Liver, Abdominal, Pancreas

No food for six hours prior to the exam.

Pelvis, Bladder

Drink and finish 32 ounces of clear liquids one hour prior to exam. Do not urinate.
No preparation is needed if you are having an ultrasound of your breast, extremity such as an arm or leg, or other body parts such as your thyroid. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. We may ask you to remove any clothing and jewelry in the area we’re examining. We may ask you to wear a gown during your procedure.


What to Expect During Ultrasound

Ultrasound is a painless, noninvasive test where you sit or lie comfortably on an exam table while a certified sonographer applies a warm water-based gel to the body part being examined. The sonographer then uses a small hand-held device called a transducer, about the size of a computer mouse, to perform the exam, gently moving it back and forth over the area of interest until the desired images are captured. There is usually no discomfort during the exam. Once the test is complete, the sonographer will wipe off the water-based gel. Any remaining gel will dry to a powder. This gel will not stain or discolor your clothing. You will be free to leave the facility and resume normal activities as soon as you are ready after your test.

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