What is an ultrasound?
Ultrasound, otherwise known as ultrasound scanning or sonography, is one of the most common forms of medical imaging.
An ultrasound machine uses high-frequency sound waves to take pictures of the inside of the body. These aren’t just regular sound waves that we can hear. Ultrasounds use high-frequency sound pulses that go into the body to capture images that help diagnose a variety of conditions or injuries. The images taken during an ultrasound examination can be recorded digitally or on film.
There are many different kinds of ultrasounds like vascular, abdominal, and thyroid — just to name a few.
What can I expect?
During your exam, you may be asked to remove jewelry or clothing, if necessary, and change into a gown. As you lie on the examination table, gel is applied and a sonographer presses a small probe (transducer) on the area being examined. The probe will be moved, as needed, to capture the image. You may experience some discomfort if the area being examined is tender, or if you are required to have a full bladder.
How should I prepare?
Most ultrasounds do not require any preparation, but there are some exceptions:
- Certain exams require fasting from eating or drinking for up to six hours before your appointment.
- Ultrasounds of the pelvic area may require a full bladder.
- You may be asked to drink plenty of fluids before the exam.
Terms you’ll want to know
Ultrasound imaging — The use of high-frequency sound waves to take images of the body. Also known as ultrasound scanning or sonography.
Sonographer — A licensed technologist who is trained to conduct ultrasound exams
Transducer — A small device connected to the ultrasound machine. A sonographer uses a transducer to take the images prescribed by your referring physician.
Radiologist — A medical doctor who is trained in reading and interpreting ultrasound images.
What if the ultrasound is for my child?
If your child needs to be scheduled for an ultrasound for the first time, they could be feeling somewhat nervous. Being shy of doctors is normal and understandable!
Advise your child that an ultrasound machine is a special tool that's like a microphone and camera all-in-one and that this tools helps doctors see inside the body so that they can help keep us healthy. The best part is that your child will get a chance to see the pictures on the computer screen as they are being taken.
You can reassure your child that they are not in any danger, and ask your sonographer to test the transducer on your first, so your child can see that they have nothing to fear.
Why your radiologist is important
Getting your ultrasound done by experts can make an impact on your care. It's crucial to find a radiology practice with Board Certfied Radiologists who are Fellowship Trained in the particular subspecialty you need. When a high-skilled specialist interprets your images, you'll have greater peace of mind knowing that your results are accurate.
At Dominion Imaging, you'll have access to on-site Board Certified, Fellowship Trained Radiologists without having to step foot in a hospital. Dominion Imaging is an outpatient medical facility specifically dedicated to X-ray and ultrasound imaging. That means more experts and less wait time to get what you need.