What is an ultrasound?

istock 917730146 scaled 450 An ultrasound is a safe and painless procedure that produces pictures of internal organs using sound waves. Ultrasound imaging, also called sonography, involves the use of a small transducer (probe) and ultrasound gel placed directly on the skin. High-frequency sound waves are transmitted from the probe through the gel then into the body. The transducer collects the sound and a computer then uses those sound waves to create an image.

What are the benefits of having an ultrasound?

Ionizing radiation, that is typically used in x-rays, is not used during ultrasound examinations, therefore, there is no radiation exposure to the patient. Additionally, the lack of radiation means that patients will not experience any side effects. An ultrasound also captures images in real-time, allowing doctors to see the structure and movement of the body’s internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.

What areas can an ultrasound be performed on?

  • Abdomen and Pelvis
  • Biopsies
  • Brain in infant
  • Breast
  • Hips in infants
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Obstetrical and Gynecological
  • Scrotal
  • Thyroid
  • Vascular – including venous & arterial

How do I prepare for my ultrasound?

The preparation for an ultrasound varies based on the location of the imaging. All patients will likely have to remove jewelry or clothing and be provided a gown before the procedure begins. More specific preparations depend on the type of ultrasound you are having such as:

  • Carotid, Thyroid, Breast, Scrotal, Echocardiography: No preparation is required.
  • Gallbladder, Liver, Abdominal, Pancreas: No food for 6 hours prior to the exam.
  • Pelvis and Bladder Ultrasound: Drink 32 ounces of clear liquids 1 hour prior to the exam. Do not urinate.

The Ultrasound Procedure

During an ultrasound exam, patients will normally lay on a comfortable table face-up and a warm gel will be applied to the transducer. Technicians use the gel so there is no gap between the transducer and your skin. The ultrasound technician will apply a small amount of pressure and move the ultrasound transducer across the patient’s body. The transducer then relays the sound waves from the body to the computer, producing real-time results.

When will I get my ultrasound results?

The ultrasound exam typically takes 30 – 60 minutes to complete. Patients should be able to return to their normal daily activities immediately. Summit Healthcare will send the results of your ultrasound to your doctor within 24 hours. They will then reach out to discuss your results and any other information you may need.

Learn More

To learn more about diagnostic imaging and the ultrasound procedure call 928.532.1150. Summit Healthcare serves Show Low, Snowflake, Pinetop-Lakeside, and surrounding areas in Arizona.

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