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What is Ultrasound?

Ultrasound, also known as sonography or ultrasonography, is an imaging method that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures within the body. The sound waves are directed into the body with a transducer, which is a small hand-held wand that the technologist uses to perform the examination. The sound waves reflect off internal structures, and a computer processes the returning echoes to produce real-time moving images. Ultrasound is commonly used to evaluate the thyroid gland, breasts, abdominal and pelvic organs, and testes, as well as blood flow in arteries and veins.

How Should I Prepare?

You should wear comfortable loose-fitting clothing, though you may be asked to change into a patient gown. For examinations of your head, chest, arms, legs and feet, no other preparation is needed.

For your abdomen ultrasound, you may be instructed not to eat or drink after midnight or for 8 hours before your test.

For the pelvic area, you may be asked to drink several glasses of water one hour before your test and to avoid urinating so that your bladder is full during the exam.

What Should I Expect?

You will be positioned on an exam table, and a clear gel will be applied to the specific area. The gel is used to eliminate the air bubbles between the transducer and your body since sound waves travel poorly through air. The transducer is pressed against the skin and moved back and forth to visualize the area of interest. Ultrasound is usually painless, though some patients experience mild discomfort from the pressure applied to the transducer, especially if you are required to have a full bladder for your exam. The examination usually takes from 15 to 30 minutes, after which you will be able to return to your normal activities and regular diet.

For your safety and the protection of others, we do not allow anyone other than patients in our exam rooms.

How Do I Get the Results?

After your study, the images will be evaluated by one of our board-certified radiologists with expertise in ultrasound imaging. A final report will be sent to your doctor or healthcare provider, who can then discuss the results with you in detail.

Reports are also available on the MyRAD Patient Portal

Meet John, Tucson businessman

John was experiencing lower back pain, so his physician referred him to Radiology Ltd. in Tucson for an ultrasound of his kidneys. “The ultrasound staff was sensitive and professional,” noted John. “It was such an easy and quick procedure; I was in and out in less than an hour and received my ‘all clear’ results later the same day. What a relief!”