An ultrasound is a familiar imaging technique which measures the sound waves reflected back from organs and tissues below the skin surface. Various organs and tissues reflect or absorb the ultrasonic waves differently, forming detailed images. A major advantage of ultrasound is its ability to display real time motion, such as normal motion of the baby in later stages of pregnancy. Special color Doppler ultrasound studies can assess the direction and velocity of blood flow within arteries and veins.
What to Expect
During the ultrasound examination, you simply lie on a comfortable table. The technologist passes a small, hand held transducer over the region of interest to both transmit and receive back the ultrasound waves used to form the final images. A gel is applied to eliminate any air pockets between the transducer and the skin surface. The ultrasound examination is completely painless, and requires 10 to 20 minutes.
Preparations and Precautions
There is no radiation used in ultrasound exams. For certain types of ultrasounds exams you may be be asked to fast begining at midnight the night before, or for other exams to arrive with a full bladder. For most exams there is no special preparation required, if there are special instructions you will be given those at the time you schedule your exam.