What is an Ultrasound ?
An ultrasound is an imaging method that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures and tissues within your body. These images can provide valuable information for diagnosing and treating a variety of conditions. Most ultrasound examinations are done using a probe outside of your body, though some ultrasound examinations involve placing a device inside your body. An ultrasound is painless, radiation-free, and non-invasive. While many people think of ultrasounds as only being used during pregnancy, an ultrasound can also be used to diagnose disease related to the Abdomen, Breast, Pelvis, Vascular system, Thyroid, and Testicles.
What can I expect?
During an ultrasound exam, you may need to remove jewelry and some or all of your clothing, change into a gown, and lie on an examination table. Gel is applied to your skin, and a sonographer presses a small probe (transducer) against your skin over the area being examined, moving it as necessary to capture the image. This process is painless. However, you may experience some discomfort if the area being examined is tender, or if you’re required to have a full bladder. A typical ultrasound exam takes from 30 minutes to an hour.
How can I prepare?
Most of the time, ultrasound exams require no special preparation, with a few exceptions:
For certain ultrasound exams, such as of the gallbladder, your doctor may ask that you not eat or drink for up to 6 hours before the exam.
Ultrasounds of the pelvic area or during pregnancy may require a full bladder, so your doctor might ask you to drink lots of water before the exam.
In general, you can eat and drink before and after the exam, and resume your normal activities right away.