An ultrasound, or sonogram, uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the inside of your body. The sound waves reflect off tissues in your body, and a computer creates an image from these reflected waves. Ultrasounds are used to view the heart, blood vessels and organs, and to examine a fetus during pregnancy.
What should I expect during an ultrasound?
An ultrasound is done either in the ultrasound or the radiology department. You need to lie down on the table, and the technician applies a clear (sometimes cold) gel to your skin. The gel helps with the transmission of sound waves. Then, the technician takes a handheld probe, called a transducer, and moves it over the area being examined. Any discomfort is minimal.
Sometimes, depending on the area being examined, the ultrasound probe is inserted into your body. Your doctor will tell you ahead of time what kind of ultrasound you will be having.
How do I prepare for an ultrasound?
There are many reasons your doctor may have ordered an ultrasound. The preparations depend on the area of the body being examined. For example, you may be told to avoid eating for a few hours prior to the examination.
Visit our Health Encyclopedia for more information on ultrasounds.
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