Ultrasound Imaging 

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 will be placed against the skin’s surface. Transducers vary in shape and size depending on which part of your body is being imaged, but most are small rectangles. 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?

Ultrasound cannot penetrate bone. For visualization of bone, other imaging modalities such as CT or X-ray 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.

    Types of Ultrasound Procedures

    Overlake Medical Center ultrasound specialists use imaging technology to help our physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.

    Abdominal Ultrasound

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

    Exam 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 six 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 Ultrasound

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

    Exam Preparation

    • Drink two 8 oz. glasses of non-carbonated fluids one 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. As soon as the required images are taken, the technologists will instruct you to empty your bladder.
    • Allow 45 minutes for the exam.
    • Consult the Ultrasound Exam Guidelines below for more information.

    Nuchal Translucency Ultrasound

    Assesses the risk for Down syndrome 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 three to five business days.

    Exam Preparation

    • Drink two 8 oz. glasses of non-carbonated fluids one 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. As soon as the required images are taken, the technologists will instruct you to empty your bladder.
    • Allow 45 minutes for the exam.
    • Consult the Ultrasound Exam Guidelines below for more information.

    Pelvic or Transvaginal Ultrasound

    Evaluates the uterus, ovaries and their surrounding anatomy.

    Exam Preparation

    • Drink four 8 oz. glasses of non-carbonated fluids one 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. Your technologist will instruct you to empty your bladder as soon as all of the required images are taken, prior to the transvaginal exam.
    • 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 Ultrasound

    Evaluates blood flow to the kidneys through the renal artery.

    Exam 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 six hours prior to your exam.
    • Do not smoke or chew gum prior to your exam as they can increase stomach gas, which can decrease image quality of your study.
    • Allow 45 minutes for the exam.
    • Consult the Ultrasound Exam Guidelines below for more information.

    Scrotal Ultrasound

    Evaluates abnormalities of the testicles and surrounding tissues.

    Exam Preparation

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

    Sonohysterogram Ultrasound

    Evaluates the inside of the uterus (the endometrial cavity). It is used to look for polyps and other endometrial abnormalities. This procedure involves a speculum exam, where the radiologist introduces sterile saline into the uterus through a small catheter. The speculum is then removed so that a transvaginal probe can be inserted to closely examine the uterine lining.

    Exam 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. The technologist will instruct you to empty your bladder after required images are taken.
    • Exam should not be performed during menstruation.
    • Allow 90 minutes for the exam.
    • Consult the Ultrasound Exam Guidelines below for more information.

    Thyroid Ultrasound

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

    Exam Preparation

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

    Vascular Ultrasound

    Evaluates the circulatory system and blood flow to individual organs and tissues throughout the body. It 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, or to monitor the effects of anticoagulation therapy. Transcranial Doppler can be used to check for narrowing of blood vessels inside the brain to monitor blood flow after surgery or a traumatic event.

    Exam 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

    Exam 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 medical imaging studies (CT, MRI, ultrasound, X-ray) with you on the day of your exam.
    • Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your exam.
      HOURS + LOCATIONS

      HOURS + LOCATIONS

      Primary Care and Urgent Care Clinics Now in Lake Hills

      The family medicine physicians at our Lake Hills Clinic — which opened in August 2016 — provide care for you and your family through every stage of life. Their broad experience in pediatrics, women's health and chronic disease management allows our providers to offer truly exceptional, patient-centered care.

      The primary care clinic offers same-day appointments and is conveniently located in the heart of the Lake Hills community of Bellevue.

      Hours & Location

      619 156th Ave SE
      Bellevue, WA 98007

      Monday - Friday
      7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

      After Hours: 425.637.3270 — Our answering service will page the doctor on call to answer your question.

      Visit this location.

       

      View all hospital services

      View all hospital services

      Make a gift

      Make a gift

      Need urgent care?

      Need urgent care?