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Diagnostic Ultrasound

What is a Diagnostic Ultrasound?

A diagnostic ultrasound, also referred to as a sonogram, is painless procedure that uses sound waves, not x-rays, to create images of the tissues and organs in the body. During pregnancy, ultrasound helps obstetricians examine and measure the unborn baby. In addition, ultrasound can take images of vascular structures and other soft tissue organs of the body. Ultrasound is also used to aid in guidance of biopsies.

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Preparing for Your Diagnostic Ultrasound

Some ultrasound procedures require special preparation. Please follow the proper instructions.

  • Abdomen – Nothing to eat or drink eight hours prior to your exam. No smoking, chewing gum or chewing tobacco prior to your procedure. Medications may be taken with a sip of water.
  • Pelvic or OB 1st trimester – Drink 32 oz. of water one hour prior to the exam without urinating.
  • Renal/Bladder or OB 2nd/3rd trimester– Drink 16 oz. of water one hour prior to the exam without urinating.
  • Renal Artery or Abdominal Doppler – Nothing to eat or drink eight hours prior to your procedure.

What to Expect During the Procedure:

A sonographer will perform your exam after explaining it to you and answering any questions you may have. The sonographer may also ask you questions about your symptoms and history.

  • You may be asked to change into a gown.
  • After you lie down, a water-soluble gel is applied to your skin. The sonographer will place the ultrasound probe on your skin. As the probe is moved, images of your organs will appear on the flat screen monitor and they will be permanently recorded for the radiologist to review.
  • The sonographer may have you remain in the exam room while he or she presents the case to the radiologist. This is to assure they have enough information for the doctor to make a diagnosis.

After the Diagnostic Ultrasound

The interpreting radiologist will send the results to your ordering physician. Your physician will contact you with the results. The sonographer will not review results of your exam with you at the time of your appointment.