It is a painless procedure, using sound waves. Ultrasound travels easily through liquid and soft tissue, but will “bounce back” if it hits something more solid such as bone or more solid tissue. An ultrasound will create an accurate visual image of your internal organs. It is widely used to monitor the well-being of an unborn baby and can also be used to monitor a variety of other conditions including gallstones, pancreatic problems, thyroid, kidneys, lymph nodes and musculoskeletal injuries in joints such as the shoulder, knee and ankle. Ultrasound can also be used to examine blood flow and to check for any thin or blocked blood vessels.
Visit our Scan Glossary for details of conditions Ultrasound scans are used for.
If you’ve never had an Ultrasound scan you might not know what to expect and this brief guide is designed to answer the questions that might be in your mind.
You might need to prepare for the scan; if it’s necessary, your appointment letter will make it clear what we want you to do. Some examples include:
Is my ultrasound scan covered by my health insurance plan?
It is best to contact your insurer directly to find out if your ultrasound scan is covered by your plan on any of our 20+ sites.
Does an ultrasound exam hurt?
No an ultrasound exam is painless.
Why does the bladder need to be full for a pelvic exam?
A full bladder pushes the uterus in a position where we can see better and brightens up the entire pelvis so that we can adequately visualise the uterus and ovaries. It also moves the intestine from the bowel out of the way.
Can I have a transvaginal exam while I am still on my period?
Yes, but if you are uncomfortable in any way we would be happy to reschedule your appointment.
Can I have a chaperone for my ultrasound exam?
Yes that is no problem please mention that you want a chaperone when you are checking in.
Why do I have to fast for my abdominal ultrasound?
This decreases the amount of gas in the abdomen and allows the gallbladder to be adequately visualised. The gallbladder contracts when you eat or drink.
Does an ultrasound use radiation?
No. Ultrasound uses sound waves.