Ultrasound captures images of organs and structures inside the body using sound waves through a small probe called a transducer and gel placed directly on the skin. It is safe, non-invasive, painless, and does not use radiation.
Ultrasound can help physicians:
- Evaluate symptoms such as pain, swelling, and infection in the body’s internal organs
- Examine many of the body’s internal organs
- Examine a baby in pregnant women
- Guided procedures such as needle biopsies
- Image the breasts and guide biopsy in the diagnosis of breast cancer
- Evaluate blockages to blood flow and narrowing of vessels
Diagnostic ultrasound is an imaging method that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures within your body. The images can provide valuable information for diagnosis and treatment of a variety of diseases and conditions.
3D and 4D ultrasounds are done primarily to examine a baby in pregnant women. With 3D ultrasound scanning, a volume image is taken, stored digitally and shaded to produce lifelike pictures of the fetus. 4D images are 3D images that are live, moving pictures that show the baby moving in real time inside the womb. We may provide 3D/4D ultrasounds to pregnant patients with their 2D diagnostic ultrasound examination if conditions are right further along in their pregnancy.
Before Your Ultrasound
We want you to have the best experience during your ultrasound. Please keep these things in mind:
- On the day of your ultrasound, wear loose, comfortable clothing and leave jewelry at home.
- You may need to either refrain from eating or drinking beforehand, or drink up to six glasses of water two hours beforehand, depending on the reason for your ultrasound. Your healthcare provider should give you instructions.
During Your Ultrasound
Upon arriving at your appointment, you may be asked to wear a gown. The sonographer will ask you to lie down on an exam table and will then apply a small amount of gel to the area under examination and place the transducer there. The ultrasound image will immediately be visible to the sonographer on a screen that looks like a computer monitor. Many of these images can be captured as still images or as short video loops for the doctor. Once the ultrasound is done, the gel will be wiped off your skin. The exam is usually completed within 30 minutes, but may sometimes take up to an hour.
In some ultrasounds, the transducer is attached to a probe and inserted into a natural opening in the body. Examples of these exams include transvaginal ultrasounds when doing gynecologic exams in women.
After Your Ultrasound
A report will be sent to your provider who will then relay your results to you.
To learn more, please talk to your family healthcare provider.