Ultrasound is a safe procedure that uses soundwaves to produce an image. For the exam, a sonographer applies gel to the skin. This gel is necessary for producing high quality images. The sonographer then passes the transducer over the targeted area to view the images on a video monitor.
After you leave, your exam will be viewed and interpreted by a radiologist. The radiologist will contact your doctor with the results of your exam. Your doctor is the only person qualified to discuss your exam results with you.
Types of Ultrasound Exams
This exam can evaluate a woman's uterus and ovaries. At times, a transvaginal exam will follow a pelvic exam if additional images are needed. This exam preparation is to drink 32 ounces of water an hour before your exam. Do not go to the bathroom until after your exam.
This exam can evaluate a woman's uterus and ovaries. It is performed with a special transducer with a latex-free cover. This transducer is inserted into the vagina by the patient. This form of ultrasound provides very high resolution of the female reproductive anatomy.
This exam is used to evaluate the size and anatomy of a fetus as well as assess its growth during pregnancy. If you are having this exam prior to 18 weeks of pregnancy, you must drink 32 ounces of water before your exam. (Do not use the bathroom until after the exam). If you are having an ultrasound after 18 weeks, no preparation is required.
Small Parts Ultrasound
- Thyroid exams assess the size of the thyroid gland (in your neck) to look for nodules. No prep is required.
- Breast exams assess palpable area in the breast of an area of density seen on a mammogram. No preparation is required.
- Scrotal exams assess size and blood flow of the testicles. It also looks for nodules. No preparation is necessary for this exam.
- Carotid exams assess for narrowing of the arteries in the neck. No preparation is required for this exam.
- Venous exams of the legs and arms are to assess for blood clots in the veins. No preparation is required for this exam.
Abdominal or Gallbladder Ultrasounds
This exam can assess the gallbladders, liver, spleen, pancreas and kidneys. Before this exam, you must not eat or drink after midnight or a minimum of 6 hours prior to the exam.
This exam assesses the kidneys. This exam preparation is to drink 32 ounces of water an hour before your exam. Do not go to the bathroom until after your exam.
Nuchal Translucency Screening
A prenatal test known as Nuchal Translucency Screening can help your obstetrician assess your baby’s risk of Down syndrome as well as some other chromosomal abnormalities and congenital heart problems.