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Ultrasound

Ultrasound

Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves exposing part of the body to high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultrasound exams do not use ionizing radiation (X-ray). Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels. Ultrasound imaging is usually a painless medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.

What Can I Expect?

A transducer is placed against the skin’s surface. Gel is placed on the skin to improve the contact of the transducer to the area being examined. The sound waves are recorded and displayed in the form of images on a screen. The procedure is painless and because no radiation is involved, ultrasound is a very safe imaging modality.

What are the Benefits of Ultrasound?

Ultrasound provides a painless imaging method for viewing structures within the body. Ultrasound does not use radiation so it’s safe for everyone including pregnant women and their unborn infants. Ultrasound produces real-time imaging, making it a good tool for monitoring the functions of the body as they occur.

What are the Limitations of Ultrasound Imaging?

Ultrasound cannot penetrate bone. For visualization of bone, other imaging modalities such as X-ray or CT scan may be selected. Ultrasound waves do not pass through air, so structures like the stomach are difficult to evaluate and intestinal gas may also prevent visualization of deeper structures in the body. Obese patients may not have as much success with ultrasound imaging because sound waves weaken as they pass deeper into the body.

Available Ultrasound Imaging:

Abdominal US

Assesses the gallbladder, liver, spleen, pancreas and kidneys.

Preparation:

  • For morning appointments, do not eat food or drink liquids after midnight the night before your exam. Take medications as usual.
  • For noon or later appointments, do not eat food or drink liquids 6 hours prior to your exam.
  • Do not smoke or chew gum prior to your exam as they can increase stomach gas.
  • Allow 45 minutes for the exam.
  • Consult the Ultrasound Exam Guidelines below for more information.

Fetal or Obstetric US

Evaluates the size and age of a fetus and assesses its growth, development and well-being during pregnancy. Fetal US can be used to detect some, but not all, fetal abnormalities. This screening allows appropriate treatment to be given during pregnancy and childbirth.

Preparation:

  • Drink two 8 oz. glasses of non-carbonated fluids 1 hour prior to your exam.
  • Please do not empty your bladder prior to the exam. Your bladder must be full in order to better image the anatomy of your baby. To obtain images of the necessary internal structures, the sound waves must first travel through your bladder. A full bladder enables the ultrasound to produce better images of the areas being studied.
  • Allow 45 minutes for the exam.
  • Consult the Ultrasound Exam Guidelines below for more information.

Nuchal Translucency US

Assesses the risk for Down syndrome (DS) and other chromosomal abnormalities in a fetus during pregnancy. This screening test is performed at a fetal age of 11-13 weeks by a sonongrapher certified by the Fetal Medicine Foundation. The ultrasound measures the amount of fluid (called nuchal translucency or NT) at the back of the fetus’s neck. A maternal finger stick blood test is also taken and sent with the fetal NT measurements to a genetics lab. The referring doctor will get the risk evaluation in 3-5 working days.

Preparation:

  • Drink two 8 oz. glasses of non-carbonated fluids 1 hour prior to your exam.
  • Please do not empty your bladder prior to the exam. Your bladder must be full in order to better image the anatomy of your baby. To obtain images of the necessary internal structures, the sound waves must first travel through your bladder. A full bladder enables the ultrasound to produce better images of the areas being studied.
  • Allow 45 minutes for the exam.
  • Consult the Ultrasound Exam Guidelines below for more information.

Pelvic or Transvaginal US

Evaluates the uterus, ovaries and their surrounding anatomy.

Preparation:

  • Drink four 8 oz. glasses of non-carbonated fluids 1 hour prior to your exam.
  • Please do not empty your bladder prior to the exam. To obtain images of the uterus and ovaries, the sound waves must first travel through your bladder. A full bladder will enable the ultrasound to produce better images of the areas being studied.
  • To better visualize the pelvic anatomy to make an accurate diagnosis, transvaginal ultrasound may be used. This method uses a transducer specially designed to be placed in the vagina.
  • Allow 45 minutes for the exam.
  • Consult the Ultrasound Exam Guidelines below for more information.

Renal Artery US

Evaluates blood flow to the kidneys through the renal artery.

Preparation:

  • For morning appointments, do not eat food or drink liquids after midnight the night before your exam. Take medications as usual.
  • For noon or later appointments, do not eat food or drink liquids 6 hours prior to your exam.
  • Do not smoke or chew gum prior to your exam as they can increase stomach gas.
  • Allow 45 minutes for the exam.
  • Consult the Ultrasound Exam Guidelines below for more information.

Scrotal US

Evaluates abnormalities of the testicles and surrounding tissues.

Preparation:

  • No special preparation is needed.
  • Allow 45 minutes for the exam.
  • Consult the Ultrasound Exam Guidelines below for more information.

Sonohysterogram US

Evaluates the inside of the uterus (the endometrial cavity). It can be used to look for polyps and endometrial cancer. This procedure involves a speculum exam and placing a small amount of sterile water into the uterus while scanning with a transvaginal ultrasound probe.

Preparation:

  • Drink four 8 oz. glasses of non-carbonated fluids 1 hour prior to your exam.
  • Please do not empty your bladder prior to the exam.
  • Exam should not be performed during your menstruation.
  • Allow 90 minutes for the exam.
  • Consult the Ultrasound Exam Guidelines below for more information.

Thyroid US

Evaluates the size of the thyroid gland and looks for thyroid nodules.

Preparation:

  • No special preparation is needed.
  • Allow 45 minutes for the exam.
  • Consult the Ultrasound Exam Guidelines below for more information.

Vascular or Carotid/Deep Vein US

Evaluates the body’s circulatory system by monitoring the blood flow to organs and tissues throughout the body. Vascular US provides a non-invasive means to evaluate blockages to blood flow, such as clots in veins or plaque in arteries. Images may also be used to plan or review the success of procedures such as vessel grafts.

Preparation:

  • No special preparation is needed.
  • Allow 45-90 minutes for the exam.
  • Consult the Ultrasound Exam Guidelines below for more information.

 Ultrasound Exam Guidelines

Preparation

  • Prior to your scheduled appointment, Overlake will call you to discuss specific instructions, review your health and insurance information and answer any questions.
  • Follow the specific preparation instructions listed above for your particular type of ultrasound exam. These may include dietary restrictions and instructions on drinking fluids. Take your medication as usual (unless your physician has given you other instructions).
  • Leave your valuables at home.
  • Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing. For some exams, you may need to change into a hospital gown or scrubs.
  • Please notify the technologist if you are pregnant or could be pregnant.
  • Please bring all relevant prior examination films or studies (CT, MRI, ultrasound, x-rays, etc.) with you on the day of your exam.
  • Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your exam.

 

Contact Us

If you would like to schedule an imaging procedure, call 425-688-0100. To speak to a Medical Imaging staff member, call 425-688-5564.