Ultrasound is a painless and safe procedure which uses sound waves to obtain a medical image or picture of various organs and tissues in the body. Ultrasound produces very precise images of your soft tissues, organs and blood flow. It can detect diseased or damaged tissues, locate abnormal growths and identify a wide variety of changing conditions, which enable your doctor to make a quick and accurate diagnosis.
What will the exam be like?
A technologist will assist you onto the examination table. At this time, a water-based transmission gel will be applied to the area of your body that will be examined. A transducer will be moved slowly over the body part being imaged. The transducer sends a signal to an on-board computer which processes the data and produces the ultrasound image. It is from this image that the diagnosis is made.
You won’t feel a thing except for the slight pressure and movement of the transducer over the part of the body being imaged. It is important that you remain still and relaxed during the procedure. The ultrasound images will appear on a monitor similar to a TV screen.
Ultrasounds requiring preparation
For evaluation of pregnancy, gynecological problems, abscesses (e.g. appendiceal, diverticular, etc.) and pelvic or lower abdominal masses. This examination does not use radiation in any form and is not harmful to the reproductive organs or unborn babies.
The patient must eat breakfast the morning of the exam to help the body absorb the water and fill the bladder. The patient should drink three 8-ounce glasses of water as quickly as possible 1hour before the sonogram. The patient should not void until after the scan.
While having the bladder full for the examination may be uncomfortable, the examination cannot be done otherwise. The bladder must be distended to push the bowel away from the uterus and to act as a “window” for the sound waves to pass
through the fluid collected in the bladder. Please note that if the bladder is not full, we may have to reschedule the appointment.
For evaluation of the pregnancy and surrounding structures. Up to 12 weeks of pregnancy the preparation is the same as the pelvic preparation described above. After 14 weeks of pregnancy, the patient should drink two 8 ounce glasses of water as quickly as possible 1.5 hours before the sonogram. The patient should not void until after the scan.
For evaluation of the endometrium. A transvaginal exam will be performed immediately before the sonohysterogram.
The sonohysterogram is performed by a radiologist. The radiologist will cleanse the cervix and insert a speculum into the vagina. A thin catheter will be inserted into the vagina through the cervix to the endometrium and the speculum is removed. The transvaginal probe will then be inserted and under ultrasound surveillance, sterile water will be injected into the endometrial cavity. Some pelvic cramping can be associated with this procedure; therefore the patient should take two ibuprofen tablets prior to the exam. Some spotting may occur after the procedure.
For evaluation of mass or enlargement of the thyroid gland. No preparation is required. If the patient has had any nuclear medicine scans done in this area, it is important to have those studies for this exam.
Transvaginal Sonogram (TV)
For evaluation of the endometrium, early pregnancies, and gynecological problems. Any patient currently using tomaxafin or those on hormone replacement therapy should have a transvaginal ultrasound.
The TV exam is performed on a patient who has an empty bladder. If a TV exam is ordered or indicated the patient will be asked to void after the pelvic sonogram.
The sonographer will ask the patient to insert a slender probe into her vagina. The probe is covered with a sterile condom for the patient’s protection. The sonographer will then take the end of the probe from the patient and gently move it from side to side. This exam should be painless although sometimes the patient may experience a slight tugging sensation.