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What is an Ultrasound?

Ultrasound is a test that uses sound waves to produce images of organs inside your body. No x-rays or radiation is used in this test. The sound waves bounce off an organ like an echo. The “echo” is sent to a machine that records the results on film and on a computer.

What can Ultrasound show?

Ultrasound can give your health care provider information that may help in your diagnosis and treatment. Most soft tissue organs can be studied with ultrasound. For instance, the gallbladder may be checked for gallstones. The kidney, liver, and pancreas can be studied for tumors or cysts. Blood vessels can be checked for swelling or blockage. Ultrasound also is used to evaluate pregnancy. We can see the growth, position, and number of babies in the mother’s uterus.

What will the exam be like?

When you report for your exam, you may be asked to change into a gown. This is done primarily to protect your clothes from the special gel that will be applied to your skin during the exam. In most cases, there will be no need to remove jewelry, watches, or dental wear.

You will be asked to lie on the exam table next to the ultrasound scanner. The individual who will perform the study is known as an Ultrasound Technologist, a highly skilled and educated person that works under close supervision of the Radiologist.

The technologist will apply the gel, which will eliminate air between the probe and your skin to help pass the sound waves into your body. A hand-held device called a transducer will then be guided slowly across your skin. The technologist will record images that appear on the ultrasound monitor.

On completion of the exam, you may be asked to remain on the examination table briefly while the technologist reviews the ultrasound pictures for clarity. Occasionally, more images may be ordered by the Radiologist at that time.

How do I prepare for the exam?

There are different preparation instructions depending on the type of scan to be performed. You will be informed of what to do to prepare for your exam when you schedule your appointment.

How long will the exam take?

The average imaging time is less than 1 hour, but some studies require more than an hour.


You should have no discomfort or pain from this exam. You may return to your normal daily activities unless otherwise instructed.


A Radiologist will study the images and a typed report will be sent to your designated health care provider.

If you should have any questions regarding this procedure, please call 815-942-2932 ext. 7130.