Ultrasounds can be performed on most parts of the body and provide excellent information about a variety of conditions – from pregnancy to gall stones, varicose veins and even muscle tears.
During an ultrasound, sound waves are bounced back from parts of the body (like sonar) to give black and white (or in some cases, colour) images.
Ultrasound is particularly useful in pregnancy, as there are no known harmful effects from its diagnostic use. Modern ultrasound equipment shows detail in “real-time”, not as still images. This enables a moving image to be seen on the screen. These examinations are carried out and interpreted by a Radiologist (a doctor who specialises in medical imaging) and a sonographer (a technologist specially trained in ultrasound).
The Sonographer uses a transducer (a hand-held device which produces and receives sound waves) to display the images. Your doctor will have explained why an ultrasound is necessary and the best imaging choice for you. Your doctor may feel it necessary for you to have an x-ray or other procedure, as well as an ultrasound.
Depending on the ultrasound that your doctor has requested, you may be asked to fast from food and fluids. Some examinations require you to drink a significant amount of water prior to arriving to ensure your bladder is full. You will be advised of the appropriate preparation when you make your appointment.
To enable good contact between the ultrasound transducer and the patient, a layer of gel is spread over the area to be examined, therefore you may be asked to change into a gown. The procedure is usually carried out lying down. After the examination, the gel is simply wiped from your skin to prevent it marking your clothes. The gel is water soluble and is easily washed out of clothes.
Exam times vary for each ultrasound. Please ask our staff when booking in for the length of your examination.