What is a General Ultrasound?
Ultrasound, also known as a sonogram, or ultrasonography, is widely used in medicine for patients of all ages. Ultrasound is a diagnostic procedure that transmits high-frequency sound waves through body tissues. These sound waves are transformed into images of the internal structures of the body.
Ultrasound is used for both diagnosis and therapeutic procedures. Sonograms are performed to visualize abdominal and pelvic organs as well as tendons, vessels and other areas in the body. Obstetric ultrasound is commonly used during pregnancy. Ultrasound can be used to guide interventional procedures such as biopsies of the liver and kidney or for the drainage of fluid.
Before Your Test
- You may be asked not to eat or drink up to eight hours before some exams. We also sometimes ask that you drink water for certain studies.
- Most medications are fine to take with a sip of water before an ultrasound. Ask about this when your test is scheduled.
For best results, be prepared to answer questions about your medical history, including the following:
- Prior surgeries
- Prior ultrasound tests
- Any medications you are taking
- Whether you are pregnant
- What pain or problem led to an ultrasound study
During Your Test
- You may be asked to change into a gown
- You will lie on an exam table or gurney
- A non-greasy, hypoallergenic gel will be put on your skin
- The Sonographer will move a hand-held transducer in the area of concern; this is how images are obtained
- Duration of exam can be 30 to 60 minutes, depending on what is ordered