Diagnostic ultrasound is an imaging method that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce precise images of structures within your body. The images produced during an ultrasound examination often provide valuable information for diagnosing and treating a variety of diseases and conditions.
Ultrasound is simple, effective and safe. It does not require the use of radiation, special dyes or anesthesia. Ultrasound is also used during pregnancy to check the baby's health and development.
What to expect
During an exam, a small amount of gel is applied to your skin. This gel helps eliminate the formation of air pockets between the ultrasound and your body. A small hand held device (transducer) moves over the area being scanned and produces images on a computer screen.
Although the majority of ultrasound exams are performed with a transducer on your skin, some ultrasounds are done inside the body. For these exams, a specialized transducer is attached to a probe that's inserted into a natural opening in your body.
Ultrasound is usually a painless procedure. However, you may experience some mild discomfort as the sonographer guides the transducer over your body, especially if you're required to have a full bladder.
Preparing for your exam
Preparations for your exam will depend on the specific procedure and will be discussed during the scheduling process.