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What’s It Like to Get an Ultrasound?

Many patients are uncertain what to expect when they are scheduled for an ultrasound. Ultrasound scans are among the safest and most common diagnostic imaging tools, and are used on many areas of the body, including the chest, abdomen, throat and pelvic regions. The scan itself is noninvasive and painless.

While ultrasounds are perhaps best known for helping evaluate the health of a fetus in pregnant women, ultrasounds can also be used to help diagnose and evaluate problems in your organs, soft tissues and more.

What Happens Before an Ultrasound?

Depending on the type of ultrasound you are having, you may receive special instructions on eating and drinking in the hours leading up to the exam. For example, for OB, pelvic and kidney exams, you may be asked to drink a glass or two of water an hour before your exam so that you arrive with a full bladder. Other types of ultrasounds may require you to fast for 6-8 hours before the exam. It is important to follow these instructions carefully so that the ultrasound will go as smoothly as possible.

What Happens During an Ultrasound?

When you go in for your ultrasound, a technologist will direct you to lie down on a padded table and will apply a gel on the area of your body that is being examined. Once the gel is applied, the technologist will use a hand-held device called a transducer and apply it to your skin where the gel was applied.

The transducer helps transmit a view of the inside of your body to a screen where images can be reviewed, captured and eventually interpreted by a radiologist. Ultrasounds take anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes to complete.

What Happens After an Ultrasound?

You can go back to eating and drinking as usual after you’ve received an ultrasound. A radiologist will interpret the ultrasound images and give your physician a detailed report of his or her findings. Finally, the physician that referred you for imaging will discuss the ultrasound results with you.

Seattle Diagnostic Imaging Services

Via Radiology provides Seattle radiology and diagnostic imaging procedures including mammography, ultrasound, MRI and CT scan exams. Looking for more information? Contact us online or call 206-306-1011.