What is an Ultrasound

An ultrasound scan is a medical test that uses high-frequency sound waves to capture live images from the inside the body.  An ultrasound allows the technologist or doctor to see problems with organs, vessels and tissues – without needing to make an incision. An ultrasound can show structure and movement of the internal organs, and in the case of Doppler ultrasound, can evaluate blood flow. Unlike other imaging techniques, ultrasound uses no radiation, so it is a preferred method for viewing a developing fetus during pregnancy. Ultrasound is also know as sonography.


How to prepare for an Ultrasound

The steps you will take to prepare will depend on the area or organ that is being viewed. Your doctor may tell you that you will need to fast for 8 to 12 hours before the exam, especially if your abdomen is being examined. Undigested food can interfere with the sound waves, making it difficult for the technologist to get a clear picture. For an examination of the gall bladder, liver, pancreas, or spleen, you may need to eat a fat-free meal the evening before your test and then fast until the procedure. However, you can still drink water and take any medications as instructed.  Be sure to tell your doctor about any prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and herbal supplements that you take before the exam. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and ask any questions you may have prior to the procedure.

After an Ultrasound

Following the procedure, your doctor will review the images and check for any abnormalities. He or she will call you to discuss the finding or to schedule a follow-up appointment.