Ultrasound is a simple, safe, painless procedure that bounces high frequency sound waves off parts of the body and converts the returning ‘echoes’ into electric impulses that create an image. There is no injection or radiation exposure associated with ultrasound. Ultrasound can be used as a singular diagnostic exam or in combination with other diagnostic exams. Ultrasound is used to examine breasts, pelvic and abdominal function such as that of the gall bladder, kidneys, female and male reproductive systems and a developing fetus. When enhanced with a specialized Doppler technique ultrasound can also capture moving images of large blood vessels. LPMI uses specialized 4-D ultrasound processing for some obstetric exams.
Preparing for an Ultrasound Exam
Please let us know prior to your exam if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, if you have diabetes or if you are taking prescribed medications of any kind. For abdominal ultrasound exams do not eat or drink for six hours prior to your exam. For pelvis, pregnancy, and kidney exams a full bladder is required. You will be asked to empty the bladder one hour before your exam, and then to drink and hold 16 oz. of water until the exam is complete.
For some pelvic or first trimester ultrasounds, a special imaging transducer may be placed inside the vagina to collect more comprehensive details of internal structures for a more accurate evaluation.
- You will receive a telephone call from our staff to confirm your appointment.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing without metal zippers or snaps.
- Bring the written prescription your physician gave to you for this procedure.
- You may be asked to bring previous imaging studies of the body area to your appointment.
- Arrive 15 minutes prior to your exam to complete paper work and change into scrubs if necessary.
- Bring all valid insurance information and a valid photo id to your appointment.
- Depending upon your insurance, a co-pay may be collected at the time of your appointment.
- If your procedure requires sedation or pain medications, bring a driver to help you return home. You may be required to arrive early to your scheduled appointment to administer sedatives effectively.
During the Ultrasound Exam
- You will lie on a cushioned table and a gel will be applied to your skin; the gel behaves as a conductor.
- A hand-held transducer that sends and received ultrasound signals will be moved over the area of the body that is being examined.
- Images will instantly appear on a monitor next to the exam table, and will be printed to film for review and interpretation by a radiologist.
- Depending upon the type of exam, it can take anywhere from 20 – 60 minutes to complete.
After the Ultrasound Exam
- When your exam is complete, your images will be interpreted by one of our radiologists who specialize in the specific area of the body that you had scanned.
- The radiologist will prepare a detailed diagnostic report to share with your physician.
- Your physician will consider this information in the context of your overall care and talk with you about the results.