Ultrasound uses sound waves to create images that represent slices through the body. No radiation is used in ultrasound imaging. The sound waves used are not of the pitch or frequency that humans can hear. The sound waves are generated by the ultrasound machine and are sent into the body by a transducer. The sound is then reflected, like an echo. The echo returns to the transducer and is converted into an image.
An abdominal ultrasound examination can be used to evaluate the gallbladder, liver, kidneys and other abdominal organs. The examination is often ordered to investigate abdominal pain, gallstones, blood in the urine and other problems. The results may help determine your diagnosis and/or the best course of treatment for you.
Do not eat or drink for six to eight hours prior to the examination. Unless instructed by your doctor, it is best not to take medicines before the procedure. You may bring your medicines with you to take when the examination is completed.
Please check in at Central Registration in the Main Lobby before reporting to the Radiology Department if you have not been preregistered over the phone.
During the Exam
The ultrasound will be performed by a registered diagnostic medical sonographer, a specially trained, educated and certified registered radiology technologist.
You will be asked to lie on your back on an examining table and your abdominal area will be exposed. The sonographer will apply a warm gel to your abdominal area; this gel helps to transmit the sound waves. The gel may feel greasy, but wipes off easily and does not stain clothing.
The sonographer will then move the transducer (or ultrasound probe) over your abdominal area to demonstrate abdominal organs. The sonographer will ask you to hold your breath at times and may ask you to roll onto your side during the exam. In some cases, the doctor (radiologist) may enter the room to assist in performing the scan.
Once the study is complete, the images will be studied and interpreted by a radiologist, who will compare your ultrasound exam to previous ultrasounds, CT scans and X-rays. The radiologist will send a report on the ultrasound and its findings to your physician.