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Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves exposing part of the body to high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultrasound exams do not use ionizing radiation (as used in x-rays). Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.

Ultrasound imaging is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.

What does the equipment look like?

Ultrasound scanners consist of a console containing a computer and electronics, a video display screen and a transducer that is used to scan the body. The transducer is a small hand-held device that resembles a microphone, attached to the scanner by a cord. The transducer sends out a high frequency sound wave and then listens for a returning sound wave or"echo". The ultrasound image is immediately visible on a nearby screen that looks much like a computer or television monitor. The image is created based on the amplitude (strength), frequency and time it takes for the sound signal to return from the patient to the transducer.

What does fasting do for the exam?

Fasting reduces the amount of air in the stomach and intestines that can interfere with visualization of the abdominal organs. It also ensures that the gallbladder will be distended so it can be thoroughly evaluated.

Can the technologist tell me the results of my exam?

Can the technologist tell me the results of my exam?

Is it okay for me to have someone in the exam room with me?

It is okay for the patient to have one other person in the exam room depending on the exam and availability of space.

What does drinking the water do?

Drinking water allows the full bladder to push the bowel out of the way so that we can see the pelvic organs.

I am on my menstrual cycle – will that be a problem?

Being on your menstrual cycle will not interfere with a pelvic sonogram.

How long does an Arterial Doppler take?

It takes 1½ hours. We perform ultrasounds of arteries on both legs and then blood pressures on the legs and arms.

Do I have to do the transvaginal part of the exam?

Yes, our radiologists highly recommend it because it provides a better diagnostic test when both parts of the exam are performed. It also enables us to get a closer look at the uterus, ovaries and pelvic area. We do not perform the transvaginal exam on not sexually active patients or on patients that can’t tolerate the exams.

Do I have to finish all the water before the exam?

Yes, it is important that your bladder is full or distended because it acts as a"window" through which the sound waves travel and allows the sonographer to visualize the pelvic organs. A distended bladder also displaces bowel, which can prevent visualization of the pelvic organs.

Is an ultrasound safe? Does it use radiation?

Ultrasound does not use radiation, but instead uses sound waves to create the images. No adverse effects have been demonstrated with the use of diagnostic ultrasounds.

Can I eat or drink before an abdominal/renal combination exam?

The patient can only have water to drink before this exam- no juice or milk is permitted. If the patient eats, the gallbladder cannot be visualized so it is very important that the patient does not eat any food.

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