Ultrasound imaging or Sonography uses sound waves to gather information about internal organs and soft tissue, such as the heart, liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, uterus, ovaries, testicles and urinary bladder. Ultrasound data, gathered in real-time by a certified technologist and displayed on a computer monitor, is also often used for examining a fetus in utero, studying the flow of blood through veins and arteries, and in diagnosing gallstones.

Since ultrasound uses sound waves and their echoes, rather than x-rays, to view internal anatomy, there is no exposure to radiation. Ultrasound also can provide information about your anatomy that cannot be gathered by conventional x-ray. In most ultrasound examinations, a hand-held transducer is placed on the patient's skin. The transducer is both a transmitter and receiver, sending reflected echoes that are displayed as a two-dimensional image on a video screen.

Technology / Equipment

Toshiba Ultrasound System

Exam Preparations

  • Please arrive 15-30 minutes prior to your exam time.
  • The exam takes about 30-45 minutes.
  • Ultrasound of the abdomen requires the patient to fast 6 hours prior to the examination.
  • Transabdominal/transvesical ultrasound of the pelvis requires the patient to drink several glasses of water approximately 30-45 minutes before the examination. Most other ultrasound procedures require no preparation, however, you should call our office if you have any questions.
  • Jewelry, including piercing must be removed prior to your study. Patients are encouraged to leave all jewelry at home.

Patient Experience

During your visit, a patient advocate will show you to the changing area and can assist you if necessary. Our changing rooms offer secure lockers, but we encourage patients to leave valuables at home.

The technologist is specially trained and certified by the American Registry for Diagnostic Sonography to perform and take care of you during your ultrasound scan. The technologist is trained to capture images of your anatomy, but is not able to evaluate your anatomy or provide you with a diagnosis.

During your ultrasound, you will lie on your back on the examination table. The sonographer will spread a warm gel over the area of concern. Images are acquired using a transducer, which is a hand-held device that looks similar to a microphone.

The technologist will firmly press the transducer against the skin and will move it to capture images of your anatomy. Allow the technologist to concentrate to ensure the appropriate images are captured. A typical ultrasound exam is usually completed in 30 to 45 minutes. You may be asked to wait for a radiologist to review your images.

After The Exam

Once the exam is completed, the images are analyzed by a board certified radiologist who generates a diagnostic report outlining the findings. This report is then sent to your physician within 24 hours (unless there are studies performed at an outside facility that the radiologist will need for comparison). Your physician will consider the radiologist's interpretation of your scan in the context of your overall care.

Additional Information

If you would like additional information on this procedure, we recommend visiting the Ultrasound section of RadiologyInfo.org.