Ultrasound

Ultrasound produces images of soft tissue and organs in the body through the use of sound waves that reflect back and are displayed as a real-time image. Ultrasound can detect diseased or damaged tissues, locate abnormal growths and identify a wide variety of conditions, enabling your radiologist to make a quick and accurate diagnosis.

Ultrasound uses a transducer, a wand-shaped device, that when gently pressed against the skin directs high-frequency sound waves into the body . These sound waves echo back and the transducer electronically converts the reflected waves into very precise images of the body. This is the same principal used to track weather patterns and to guide air traffic. No radiation is used in ultrasound, making it a safe alternative for young patients, women as well as pregnant patients.

Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, utilizes high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultrasound exams do not use ionizing radiation (X-ray). Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.

What to Expect

Ultrasound examination is performed by a sonographer - a technician trained in ultrasound imaging. The sonographer applies a hypo-allergenic, water-soluble gel to prevent air from getting between your skin and the transducer, a small probe resembling a bar of soap. The sonographer then gently passes the transducer over the skin of the area being examined, producing a sensation of light pressure. The transducer generates and receives the high-frequency sound waves. The computer in the ultrasound unit processes and converts the resulting patterns into detailed images.

During the examination, please relax, remain still when asked and follow other instructions. The examination results will be evaluated by a radiologist who has expertise in interpreting sonograms. The results will be sent to your referring physician within one day.

How to Prepare

When you schedule your appointment, we will inform you about any specific preparations depending upon the specific procedure your doctor has ordered. Please contact the Scheduling Department at 949/764-5573 if you have any questions.

Preparation is specific for each procedure. Some ultrasound exams require no preparation, while others require patients to cease eating and drinking for up to 12 hours before the exam. Some ultrasound exams require a full bladder. You will receive instructions if that is necessary for your exam.

Please complete, print out and bring with you the following forms to your appointment:

Abdomen

Nothing to eat or drink 8 hours prior to exam. Clear liquids okay.

Breast

No preparation needed

Carotid Doppler

No preparation needed

Musculoskeletal

No preparation needed

Obstetric

If you are less than 14 weeks gestation, please empty bladder and drink 32 oz of fluid one hour before exam. Do not empty bladder until instructed. If you are greater than 14 weeks gestation, you do not need to drink water.

Pelvis

Empty bladder and then drink 32 oz of water one hour before your pelvic ultrasound exam. Do not empty bladder until instructed to do so.

Hysterosonogram

If you have not had a prior Pelvic ultrasound within the last 6 months, empty bladder and then drink 32 oz of water one hour before your pelvic ultrasound exam. Do not empty bladder until instructed to do so.

Please complete, print out and bring with you the following forms to your appointment:

Penile

No preparation needed

Prostate

Purchase a Fleets enema (4.5 oz green box) and complete enema 2 hours prior to exam time.

Please complete, print out and bring with you the following forms to your appointment:

Scrotum/Testicular

No preparation needed

Thyroid

No preparation needed

Transvaginal

No preparation needed

Paracentesis/Thoracentesis/Fluid Aspiration

No dietary preparation is required unless specified during scheduling. Please follow any instructions given by your ordering doctor or our nurses. A driver is not needed to drive you home.

Ultrasound Guided Biopsy

Venous/Extremities

No preparation needed

Side Effects/Follow-Up Care

Side effects and complications

No side effects or complications are associated with ultrasound exams.

Follow-up care

Most procedures do not require follow-up care.

Locations

Locations where NHRA provides Ultrasound services