An ultrasound scan is the use of high frequency sound waves to create an image of part of the inside of the body. A transducer (or probe) is pressed onto the skin and moved around in order to acquire the images of the inside of your body.
Who performs the ultrasound scan?
The examination may be performed by a sonographer. Sonographers are radiographers who have done additional qualifications training to perform an ultrasound scan, recognise pathology and report.
How do I prepare?
If you are having an ultrasound scan of your pelvis, kidneys or bladder you may be required to fill your bladder prior to the examination. For examinations of the gallbladder or pancreas, you may be required to fast for a specified number of hours (usually 6hrs) This will be explained to you by our reception team at the time of booking your appointment, and will be sent in a letter if there is sufficient time for it to arrive.
You should tell the radiology department in advance if you have had a similar ultrasound scan recently.
What happens during an ultrasound scan?
You may be taken into the ultrasound room by a chaperone, where you will be asked to confirm your identity. You will then be asked to lie down on a couch for the examination. The room may be dimmed so that the pictures on the screen can be seen more clearly. A gel will be applied to your skin over the area to be scanned, for example, the abdomen. The gel allows the probe to slide easily over the skin and helps to produce clearer pictures. The 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 referred to when writing the report.
Once the scan is complete, you will be provided with tissue to clean any gel off, after which you may redress and leave the department.
How long will the ultrasound scan take?
Depending on the area, or areas, being examined, the ultrasound scan may take up to 20 minutes.
Are there any risks?
No, there are no known risks associated with ultrasound scanning and it is considered to be very safe.
How do I get the results of my ultrasound scan?
The ultrasound scan will be examined after your visit and a written report on the findings sent to your GP.
What type of scans are offered?
We routinely perform ultrasound scans on the abdomen, pelvis, trans-vaginal (internal) and testes.
We do not currently provide a service for the thyroid, venous or arterial assessments as well as breast or antenatal imaging.