Completely safe and painless, ultrasounds capture images of your body in real time. Learn here about the science, the benefits, and the experience.
What is an ultrasound?
Also called sonography, ultrasound imaging uses high-frequency sound waves to look at internal organs like the heart, blood vessels, liver, and kidneys. Ultrasounds are also commonly used during pregnancy to check the health of the fetus. Displaying sound wave echos in real-time, ultrasounds can capture motion, like blood flow and organ movement. During the procedure, technologists will snap images that are then assessed and analyzed by our radiologists.
Because they use sound waves, which don’t travel well through air or solids (bones), ultrasounds are not effective for capturing images of the lungs, bowel, or brain. To get a better look at these structures, your physician may order an MRI or CT scan. But ultrasounds are very useful procedures, and depending on your healthcare needs, can be a great diagnostic tool.
What should I expect from this scan?
Ultrasounds are incredibly quick and require little to no preparation. We may ask patients to fast, drink water, and/or hold their urine prior to an ultrasound examination. If that is the case, our team will inform you upon scheduling.
Once you arrive at the office, you’ll change into a gown and lie down on the examination table. Your technologist will spread a special gel over the examination area to help prevent air pockets that block sound wave imaging. This may feel cold and slimy, but the process is quick, and the gel wipes off easily.
The technologist will then guide the small hand-held device (the transducer) over your skin to capture reverberated images from the sound waves that then appear on the corresponding monitor.
If you have any questions through the process, your technologist is there to answer them and make you feel as comfortable as possible. When the technologist is done collecting images—usually around 30 minutes—you’ll be free to go.
Since ultrasounds are safe and quick, you’ll be able to return to your normal activities immediately after the procedure is done.
Our radiologists will assess and interpret the images and send a report to your physician that same day. Please anticipate a call from your physician’s office with the results.