Ultrasound uses sound waves to look for abnormalities in the body. It does not use radiation to generate pictures or images. Ultrasound waves are sent into the body by a transducer, which is a small hand-held object about the size of a microphone. The transducer changes electric energy into sound waves. The sound waves bounce back off body structures are recorded.
Patients do not receive an electric shock during the ultrasound procedure.
Preparation depends on the test involved. There may be some dietary restrictions. The nurse will let you know about any preparation needed. For example, pelvic ultrasounds which look at the uterus or ovaries require patients to have a full bladder to ensure the highest quality pictures.
The Procedure - What to Expect
Inpatients will be taken to the Ultrasound Department in a wheelchair or on a stretcher. If your white blood cell count is low, you will have to wear a mask while out of the hospital room.
If you are an outpatient, simply proceed to the Ultrasound Department at your scheduled appointment time.
A jelly-like substance is used to make sure there is good contact between the transducer and the skin. The movement of the transducer is not painful but pressure will be applied to the skin. The procedure takes about 1 to 1 ½ hours.