What is ultrasound?

Ultrasound, or sonography, is a safe, painless procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves reflecting off body structures to create a picture. No radiation is used with this technique. Ultrasound is often used to scan pregnancies, the abdomen, blood vessels, or breasts (usually together with mammography).

What can I expect?

You will usually lie down for the procedure. A clear, water-based gel is applied to the skin and a hand-held probe is moved over the target area. You may be asked to change position so that other areas can be examined. 


How will it feel?

The gel may feel cold and wet. The only other sensation is from the probe touching the skin, but some pressure may be used.

How should I prepare?

  • No preparation is needed, except for pelvis or pregnancy scans.
  • Before pelvis or pregnancy scans, you'll be asked to drink 16-24 ounces of water and not empty your bladder until after the scan. A full bladder helps to show different structures in the pelvis.
  • In some cases, you'll be asked to fast before the exam.


More information 

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