What is ultrasound?
Ultrasound technology uses sound waves to create a picture of structures inside the body. The images are captured using a handheld wand that emits sound waves and records the echoes. The wand is passed back and forth over the area of the body being studied. As the sound waves bounce back to the wand, they are recorded by a computer and turned into an image.
Ultrasound compiles images in real time and is helpful for observing structure and movement or internal organs or systems of the body. It is also used to guide needle biopsy, a procedure in which a needle is used to extract a small amount of tissue for biopsy.
Our tests are performed by a team of highly trained and experienced doctors specializing in radiology. Community Hospital is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR) and follows the guidelines of the ACR and the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM). Our technology provides our staff with never-before-seen detail during examinations.
Learn more about ultrasound biopsy.
How to prepare
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to your exam. You may be given a gown to wear during the procedure.
- Depending on the type of ultrasound, you may be asked to refrain from eating or drinking for several hours before your exam. Alternately, you may be asked to drink several glasses of water before the exam.
What to expect
Most likely, you will be lying on your back on an exam table for your ultrasound. The exam table may be partially or fully reclined. A colorless, water-based gel will be applied to the skin on the area being examined. The gel is used to create better contact for transfer of sound waves during the ultrasound. The ultrasound technologist will press a handheld wand firmly to your skin and begin to move it back and forth across a small area.
Some types of ultrasounds use a probe rather than the handheld wand. These include:
- Transvaginal ultrasound. The transducer is inserted into a woman's vagina to view the uterus and ovaries.
Images will be generated in real time and you may be able to see them on a screen while your exam is taking place. Most ultrasound exams take 30 minutes to 1 hour to complete.
After your ultrasound
When the ultrasound is complete, the technologist will wipe the gel from your skin and if needed, leave the room to allow you to dress. The technologist will review the images to verify that they are of high enough quality for accurate interpretation. The images will then be reviewed by a doctor, and you will hear back about the results within several days.
No recovery is needed for an ultrasound, with the exception of the transesophageal echocardiogram, which sometimes requires a sedative.
Risks or side effects
There are no known risks or lasting side effects resulting from an ultrasound.
Types of diagnostic ultrasound offered
Listed below are some of the types of diagnostic ultrasound offered at Community Hospital.