Ultrasound delivers high-frequency sound waves and the echoes that bounce of body tissue form images of the inner structure of the body. This non-invasive procedure is one of the most widely used diagnostic procedures in modern medicine.
Most people are familiar with how an ultrasound shows a developing baby in the womb, but ultrasound can also help determine a person's risk of heart attack or problems in the abdomen or reproductive system.
There are several different ultrasound exams. Here you'll find the most common exams and their necessary preparations.
Thyroid, extremity joints, testicular, and soft tissue structure ultrasound procedures do not require any special preparation.
Please allow one hour for the entire ultrasound exam process.
An obstetrical ultrasound allows you and your physician to see and examine your baby before the baby is born. The physician can more accurately calculate the baby’s age from the measurements taken during the ultrasound. During the first 16 weeks of pregnancy, you must have a full bladder during the exam. The fluid inside the bladder acts as a window through which the sound waves can pass. This allows the fetus and uterus to be clearly seen. After the first 16 weeks, a full bladder is not necessary.
How to prepare:
A pelvic ultrasound studies the female reproductive organs, such as the uterus and ovaries. This is usually done through the abdomen. To better visualize the area, the technician may need to scan the reproductive organs through the vagina using a probe.
An abdominal ultrasound is used to study the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, spleen, urinary tract (kidneys) and abdominal aorta.
A breast ultrasound is often used to examine a suspicious breast lump. The ultrasound will show whether the lump is solid or filled with fluid. This information is important in determining treatment. No special preparation is necessary.
Learn more about ultrasounds for pregnancy.
Learn more about prostate/rectal ultrasounds.
Providence St. Joseph Medical Center has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in computed tomography as the result of a recent review by the American College of Radiology.