An ultrasound is a safe diagnostic imaging procedure, producing images from sound waves directed into your body from a transducer touching your skin surface. A warm, water soluble gel medium is used to eliminate air between the surface of the transducer and your skin. Ultrasound does not depend on radiation or X-rays to produce images. Bone, air, and metals do not transmit sound and prevent adequate images from being made.
Diagnostic ultrasound has been in use for over 35 years. The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine has issued the following statement in regards to the clinical safety of ultrasound: “No confirmed biological effects on patients or instrument operator caused by exposure at intensities typical of present diagnostic instruments have ever been reported. Although the possibility exists that such biological effects may be identified in the future, current data indicates that the benefits to patients of the prudent use of diagnostic ultrasound outweigh the risks, if any, that may be present”.
An abdominal ultrasound (or sonogram) is a non-invasive (from the outside of the body) imaging procedure used to examine organs in the abdomen including the gallbladder, kidneys, spleen, liver, pancreas and other abdominal organs. It may also be used to evaluate major vessels such as the aorta or the blood vessels to an organ in the abdomen. Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves that reflect off of a body structure to form an image. The echoes from the sound waves give information regarding size, distance and uniformity of the organ and are recorded and displayed on a monitor screen. These pictures are recorded in ”real-time” which means that the screen is displaying what is actually happening during the exam. This enables the radiologist to see movement of the organs and blood flow. In turn, this helps them to diagnose a variety of conditions. There is no radiation exposure with ultrasound.
We will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for this exam. You may be asked to maintain a special diet the day prior to your exam. It may also be necessary for you to avoid anything to eat or drink for a period of time prior to your test. It is also possible that no preparation is needed, so be sure you check with your healthcare provider.
A pelvic ultrasound (or sonogram) is an imaging procedure used to examine organs in the pelvis including the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, cervix and bladder. Because there is no radiation exposure, it is especially useful in evaluating a pregnancy. Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves that reflect off of a body structure to form an image. The echoes from the sound waves give information regarding the size, distance and uniformity of an organ, and are recorded and displayed on a monitor screen. These pictures are recorded in “real-time” which means that the screen is displaying what is actually happening during the exam. This enables the technician or physician to see movement. In turn, it helps them diagnose a variety of conditions.
A full bladder is necessary to get a good ultrasound picture. You will be asked to drink at least 32 ounces of liquid prior to your exam. You will need to complete this one hour before your exam starts. Do not urinate during the hour before your procedure. While it may be slightly uncomfortable to have a full bladder, it enables the technologist to better visualize the pelvic organs.
The technologist may ask you to place a small transducer into your vagina. The transducer is shaped to fit into a woman’s vagina. This is called a trans vaginal ultrasound. The device contains a tiny transmitter
for a more complete diagnosis. It is used to check the pelvic organs for a possible abnormality from a gynecologic standpoint. It is also used to detect a very early pregnancy that may be difficult to see with
an abdominal ultrasound. Often a trans vaginal ultrasound gives more detailed images of the pelvic organs. It is safe and accurate and there is minimal discomfort. The technologist will explain the procedure
completely before this portion of the exam is done. If you are only having a trans vaginal ultrasound, drinking liquid prior to your exam is not required.
An obstetrical ultrasound exam looks at the uterus and ovaries and at the fetus. The fetus is checked to be sure that it’s size is appropriate for it’s expected “age”. The fetus is also checked to be sure the fetal anatomy is structurally normal. You may eat regular meals prior to an obstetrical ultrasound exam. If you are less than 14 weeks pregnant, you should have a full bladder. Please begin drinking 32 oz (1 quart) of water one hour before the exam is scheduled to begin, and do not urinate until the examination is over. If you are more than 14 weeks pregnant, there is no preparation needed.
Other Ultrasound Procedures
1380 Lusitana Street, Suite 200, Honolulu, HI 96813