ultrasound machineUltrasound or Sonography is a medical imaging procedure that utilizes specialized equipment that sends high frequency sound waves into your body to produce pictures of internal structures. Ultrasound is like ordinary sound except that it has a frequency higher than people can hear. Ultrasound exams do not use x-rays or radiation.

An ultrasound exam is performed by first having the patient lie on a table, most often on their backs. A clear gel is applied over the area of interest by the ultrasound technologist to insure good contact between the patient’s skin and the transducer which is the part of the ultrasound machine that sends and receives the sound waves. After the gel is applied, the technologist will slowly slide (and sometimes press) the transducer over the area of interest to obtain the necessary amount of diagnostic information about the structures in question. Upon completion of the exam, the technologist will review the images for quality and completeness and then wipe off the gel from the patient’s skin. The patient is then free to go.

Ultrasound Scan Preparation


Drink 20 oz of water 1 hour prior to exam and do not empty bladder.

a. Abstain from eating or drinking 8 hours prior to scheduled exam.

b. No smoking or gum chewing.


Termine de tomar 20 oz. de agua antes de su sita y no orine.

a. Abstengase de comer o beber 8 horas antes de su examen.

b. No fume ni mastique chicle.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Is ultrasound safe?
Diagnostic ultrasound has been in use since the 1950’s. Given its known benefits and usefulness for medical diagnosis, the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine herein addresses the clinical safety of such use:

“There are no confirmed adverse biologic effects on patients or instrument operators caused by exposures from diagnostic ultrasound instruments. …..Current data indicate that the benefits to patients of the prudent use of diagnostic ultrasound outweighs the risks, if any, that may be present.”

Will it hurt?
Ultrasound exams are generally painless. If you have an area of tenderness, you may feel pressure or minor pain when the transducer is pressed to the skin in that area.

When and how is ultrasound used?
There are many clinical indications for using diagnostic ultrasound. Ultrasound can be used to examine many parts of the body including the abdomen, pelvis, breasts, prostate, scrotum, thyroid, and the vascular system.

Why isn’t ultrasound use for all imaging?
Because bone weakens sound waves, ultrasound can not be used to examine the bones surrounding your abdomen, such as your ribs. Also, because sound is weakened as it passes through layers of tissue, results from obese patients are not the same quality as those who are thin. In addition, ultrasound cannot image through gas. Therefore, bowel gas may limit visualization of some structures of interest.

How long will it take?
An ultrasound exam is usually completed within 30 to 45 minutes. Following the imaging, you will be asked to wait while the technologist determines that all the necessary images have been obtained.

Do I need a prescription to have an ultrasound scan?
Yes. You will need to bring a written order for the ultrasound scan from your doctor or have your doctor’s office fax the prescription to us prior to your arrival.

How long does it take to get my results?
After the scan is completed, the technologist will print the images from the computer onto film and give them to our radiologist. He will study the films and dictate a report which will be sent to your doctor who ordered the procedure. This process usually takes from 24 to 48 hours.