Ultrasound FAQ

What is Ultrasound Imaging?

Ultrasound imaging (also called ultrasound scanning or sonography) is a method of obtaining images from inside the human body through the use of high frequency sound waves. The reflected sound wave echoes are recorded and displayed as a real-time visual image. No ionizing radiation (x-ray) is involved in ultrasound imaging.

Ultrasound is a useful way of examining many of the body’s internal organs, including but not limited to the heart, liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, and bladder. For urological purposes, your physician has probably ordered a renal (kidneys), pelvic, abdominal, scrotal, or penile ultrasound. Combinations of these procedures may be ordered as well (for example, renal and pelvic ultrasound).

How Does the Procedure Work?

Ultrasound scanners consist of a console containing a computer and electronics, a video display screen, and a transducer that is used to scan the body.

The transducer is a small hand-held device about the size of a bar of soap, attached to the scanner by a cord. The transducer functions as both a generator of sound (similar to a speaker) and a detector (like a microphone).

  • Our technologist spreads lubricating gel on the area being examined and then presses the transducer firmly against the skin to obtain images.
  • When the transducer is pressed against the skin it directs inaudible, high-frequency sound waves into the body.
  • As the sound echoes from the body’s fluids and tissues the transducer records the strength and character of the reflected waves.

These echoes are instantly measured and displayed by the scanner computer, which creates a real time picture on the monitor. These images are digitally sent over to a radiologist who will read and report the ultrasound to your urologist. Below is an example of a sonographic image of a left kidney.

Where Do I go for my Ultrasound?

Your ultrasound study will be done in our main office, but not in the same area of the office you go to see your urologist. Please enter the building through our main entrance and make a right. Ultrasound is located in the second doorway to the right in the same area as our laboratory.

  • Have a seat in the small waiting area and one of our sonographers will call your name at the time of your procedure.
  • Also, feel free to ask our greeter Donna where you are supposed to go for an ultrasound, and she will direct you to this location.

Ultrasound Preparation

Abdominal Ultrasound

  • Fast for 8-12 hours. No food or drink after midnight.
  • Bring prescribed medication to take after the exam is finished.
  • Bring a snack to eat (if needed) after the exam is finished.
  • Dress in loose fitting clothing, if possible.
  • This exam should take 30 minutes.

Renal Ultrasound

  • Drink 24 ounces of water one hour before the exam. do not empty your bladder!
  • Dress in loose fitting clothing, if possible.
  • This exam should take 30 minutes

Pelvic Ultrasound

  • Have a full urinary bladder.
  • 32 to 40 ounces of clear fluid should be ingested one hour prior to your exam, and finished within a 15-20 minute time period.
  • Do not empty your bladder! If for any reason the patient cannot retain a full bladder, a Foley catheter will be used.
  • This exam should take 30 minutes.

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