Services » General Ultrasound
Ultrasound uses high frequency sounds waves to produce images. The sound waves are transmitted into your body from a small handpiece called a transducer that is held against your skin by the sonographer. Some of these waves are reflected and are processed by the ultrasound machine to form pictures. These pictures are shown on a TV screen and recorded on film.
Ultrasound has been around since the late 1950's and studies have shown that it is a safe technique with no harmful side effects.
Ultrasound is available at all our branches.
What to Expect
Depending on the type of examination you are having you may need some preparation. For some scans you will be asked to change into a gown.
The examination will be performed by a sonographer, (a technologist with special training in ultrasound) or a radiologist (a doctor specialised in ultrasound and X-ray examinations).
You will be shown into the ultrasound room and asked to either lie down on a couch or sit on a chair. Warmed water-based gel is then placed on your skin on to the area of interest. This is to allow transmission of the sound waves into your body. The transducer, will then be placed on the jelly and on your skin. The transducer produces sound waves that will form the images. You will be completely unaware of these sound waves and there should be no discomfort during the examination. You may be asked to breathe in and hold your breath - this is very important to optimally visualise some organs.
There are different preparations required for different examinations:
Pregnancy: 1st and 2nd Trimesters (ie before 24 weeks): Please empty your bladder one hour prior to your appointment time and then drink 2 large glasses of water. Do not empty your bladder until after the examination.
3rd Trimester: No preparation is necessary.
A standard scan takes approximately 30 minutes but please allow a little extra time due to unforeseeable delays.
Musculoskeletal: No preparation is required. The sonographer will need to scan both the affected and non-affected side so please wear loose clothing.
Upper Abdomen: (including liver, gall bladder, pancreas, aorta).
You will need to fast (nothing to eat or drink) for 8 hours prior to your appointment time. These examinations are usually performed in the mornings for your comfort. You will be changed into a gown.
KIdneys and Urinary System: Do not empty your bladder for at least one hour prior to your appointment time. You may be changed into a gown.
Female Pelvis: Please empty your bladder one hour before your appointment time and then drink 2 large glasses of water. Do not empty your bladder until after the examination.
Depending on the clinical indications, the sonographer may need to perform an internal scan. This is called a trans vaginal ultrasound. You will be asked if you wish to consent to this. If so, you will be asked to empty your bladder, remove your clothing from below the waist and you will then be given the special ultrasound probe to insert into your vagina. This probe has been sterilised and covered with protective sheaths. The probe is much smaller than a speculum that is used for smear tests and is attached to a long handle. Once the probe has been inserted, the sonographer will then move the probe gently from side to side to obtain the required images. Please tell the sonographer at any stage if there is any discomfort.
Testes: No preparation is required. You will be changed in to a gown and asked to remove clothing from below the waist.
Thyroid: No preparation is required. You will be asked to change into a gown and to remove everything from above the waist.
Vascular (blood vessel): No preparation is necessary for most of these examinations. You will be asked to remove any clothing from around the area of interest.
Your scan will be read and reported by a radiologist. The report will then be sent to the person who referred you. The images will be held long term in our secure electronic data repository . Women undergoing pregnancy scans are offered paper copies of images before they leave, a CD of the images or an emailed copy of a selected image. Other exams can also be printed, copied or emailed on request.