Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, is a method of obtaining images from inside the human body through the use of high-frequency sound waves. The reflected sound wave echoes are recorded and displayed as a real-time visual image. No ionizing radiation (x-ray) is involved in ultrasound imaging. Ultrasound is a useful way of examining many of the body’s internal organs, including but not limited to the heart, liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and bladder. Because ultrasound images are captured in real time, they can show movement of internal tissues and organs and enable physicians to see blood flow and heart valve functions.
Obstetric ultrasound refers to the specialized use of sound waves to visualize and thus determine the condition of a pregnant woman and her embryo or fetus. The ultrasound can also estimate the age of the pregnancy, diagnose congenital abnormalities, determine multiple pregnancies, evaluate the position of the placenta and determine the amount of amniotic fluid around the fetus.
Preparation and Special Instructions
Instructions will be given to you at the time of scheduling, whether by our office or your physician. You should wear a loose-fitting two piece outfit for the examination. For some ultrasound exams you may require to drink water prior to the exam without voiding (urinating). Some ultrasound exams may require that you not eat or drink the night before the exam.
What to Expect
Most ultrasound examinations are painless, fast and easy. Ultrasound examinations usually take less than 30 minutes. You will lie on your back on an examining table. The technologist or doctor will apply warm gel on your skin and press the transducer firmly against your body, moving it until the desired images are captured. There may be varying degrees of discomfort from pressure as the technologist guides the transducer over the body part being imaged.