An ultrasound scan is a non-invasive form of medical imaging that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images from the inside of your body. It is also known as sonography.
Ultrasound is a more commonly known for examining the unborn babies in the uteruses but it can be used for assessing other parts of the body including organs in and around the pelvis and abdominal areas, the heart, muscles and eyes and the brain for infants.
How the procedure is performed
Depending on which region of the body being examined, you will be asked to expose that region or change into a hospital gown. You will most likely be lying down on a table with a section of your body exposed for the test.
The Ultra-sonographer, will then apply a special lubricating gel to the skin that contains ions and allows the sound energy from the transducer to enter through the surface of the skin. Then a transducer that has a similar appearance to a microphone will then send high-frequency sound waves in and through the body at a pitch that cannot be heard by the human hear that will echo back to the machine and form an image that can be interpreted by the ultra-sonographer Depending on the area being examined, you may need to change positions so then they can get a better image.
How long will it take?
The whole procedure typically lasts for less than 15 minutes depending on the area being examined.
How safe is an Ultrasound?
An ultrasound is a safe procedure, which only makes use of low powered sound waves. There are no known risks, which is why Antenatal ultrasound scans are in fact the safest way to examine a developing unborn baby without exposing the mother or baby to any radiation. It is also generally painless and does not require needles, injections or incisions. Patients are not exposed to ionizing radiation and are relatively safer than X-Rays and C.T. Scanning.
What preparation do I need to do before my Ultrasound Scan?
Most of the ultrasound examinations do not require any preparation. However, patients undergoing an abdominal scan shouldn’t eat or a minimum of six hours prior to the examination, patients undergoing a pelvic examination require a full bladder for the examination and need to drink a minimum of six standard glasses of water to minimise the waiting times for the bladder to fill up. Also, patients undergoing the transrectal prostate ultrasound examination get to be given a special preparation slip that will ensure the success of the examination.
When will I get my results?
The radiologist will examine the images and will write a signed report to your referring doctor who will then discuss the results with you.