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Ultrasound Patient Information | LivingCare Medical Services

Ultrasound

An ultrasound scan is a picture of part of the inside of the body. It uses sound waves of a frequency above the audible range of the human ear. A small hand-held sensor pressed carefully against the skin surface generates sound waves and detects any echoes reflected back off the surfaces and tissue boundaries of internal organs. The sensor can be moved over the skin to view the organ from different angles. The images are displayed on a screen and recorded for subsequent study. Ultrasound images complement other forms of scans and are widely used for many different parts of the body. They can also be used to study blood flow and to detect any narrowing or blockage of blood vessels, for example, in the neck.

Ultrasound is also used for intimate examinations; for example, of the prostate gland in men or the womb or ovaries in women. For some examinations, it may be necassary to place an ultrasound probe in the vagina or the rectum to look at internal structures.If you are having an intimate examination the sonographer will describe the procedure to you, and your consent will be required.

Your appointment at LivingCare

The sonographer will explain the procedure for your examination. If you have to undress for the procedure, you will be shown to a private cubicle to put on a clean gown and dressing gown.

You will be seen by a radiologist or a sonographer depending upon the type of investigation you are having.

DO I NEED TO MAKE ANY SPECIAL PREPARATION IN ADVANCE? 

Some preparation may be required. If your pelvis, kidney or bladder are tobe scanned, you may be required to ensure that your bladder is full before the examination can begin. For some examinations such as the gall bladder and pancreas, you may be required to fast for a specified number of hours. Is so, this will be explained in the accommpanying appointment letter.

You should tell the clinic in advance if you have had a similar ultrasound recently. If you are diabetic please bring some food and your medication with you on the day of the scan.

WHO WILL PERFORM THE PROCEDURE?

Sonographers (radiographers) or radiologists (doctors) who have specialized training in the technique of ultrasound. They carry out a great number of these examinations and will provide a descriptive of their findings to your doctor. 

WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE SCAN?

You will be taken into a room where you will be asked to lie down on a couch and a gel will be applied to your skin over the area which will be scanned, for the example, the abdomen. The gel allows the sensor to slide easily over the skin and helps to produce clearer images. You may be asked to take deep breaths and to hold your breath for a few moments.

For a scan of the bladder, the bladder may occassionally not be full enough for examination and you may be asked to drink more fluid. The radiologist/sonographer will slowly move the sensor over your skin while viewing the images on the screen. Records of selected images will be made so that they can be viewed later.

Upon completion, the gel will be wiped off and you will be free to get dressed. Ultrasound itself does not produce discomfort and apart from the sensor on your skin you will not feel anything. If a full bladder is required there may be some associated discomfort. If pressure has to be applied to the skin surface over an imflammed organ, e.g. the gallbladder, to check what is causing the pain, this may temporarily increase the amount of pain coming from that organ.

The process of carrying out a scan usually takes about 20-30 minutes Your total time in the department is usually 30-40 minutes. You may eat and drink as normal afterwards. 

WHEN WILL I GET MY RESULTS?

The scan will be examined after your visit and a written report on the findings sent to your referring doctor.