What is an Ultrasound?
An ultra sound is a safe, painless, non-invasive test used to evaluate organs, blood vessels, and other soft tissue structures. There are no confirmed adverse biological effects on patients or instrument operators caused by exposures to ultrasound.
Ultrasound uses a transducer that sends out ultrasonic sound waves at a frequency too high to hear. When the technologist places the transducer at certain locations and angles, the ultrasonic sound waves move through the skin and other body tissues to the organs and structures within. The sound waves bounce off the organs like an echo and return to the transducer. The transducer picks up the reflected waves, which are then converted by a computer into an electronic picture of the organs or tissues under study.
The Women’s Imaging Center offers OB/GYN, pelvic and breast ultrasound. The medical imaging department also conducts abdominal, vascular, cardiac, thyroid, prostate and scrotal ultrasound exams.
What to Expect During Your Exam
The actual ultrasound exam is typically painless, and is completed in about 30-45 minutes. Once you arrive in the department you may be asked to change into a gown depending on the type of exam you are having. The technologist will also ask you various questions about your symptoms and explain the exam to you.
During the exam the technologist will ask you to lie on a padded table and position you to obtain the proper image views. It is typically necessary to take several views from different angles to property evaluate the area in question. It is important to remain still, and to hold the position the technologist has placed you in. The technologist may also ask you to avoid swallowing, or hold your breath for certain exams. This will eliminate motion, and allow the technologist to capture a crisp image.
A gel-like substance will be applied to the area that needs to be imaged. This will decrease friction on your skin from the transducer or probe, and provide a medium through which the sound waves will travel. The sound from the transducer will be reflected off structures inside the body, and the information from the sounds will form an image. Several still images will be obtained and additional moving images may be captured or videotaped.