Ultrasound (sonography) uses high frequency sound waves to create images of the inside of the body. There is no radiation used, so it is safe for pregnant women and children. Pictures are obtained by placing gel on the skin and moving a hand-held device over the area of interest.
Fetal or obstetrical ultrasound is most often used to evaluate the size and age of a fetus as well as assess the growth during pregnancy. It can also be used to screen for certain abnormalities of the fetal anatomy.
Abdominal ultrasound assesses the gallbladder, bile ducts, liver, spleen, pancreas and kidneys. Size and shape of the organs are usually easily recognized. Abnormalities, such as gall stones or kidney cysts can be identified using ultrasound.
Pelvic ultrasound is used to evaluate the uterus, ovaries, and urinary bladder. For women, this study usually includes an endovaginal exam, which is performed using a special device with a sterile sheath that the patient is asked to place into her vagina. This method provides a very detailed look at the uterus and ovaries.
Thyroid ultrasound evaluates the size of the thyroid lobes. Thyroid nodules can be characterized for their make-up and location.
Arteries and veins can also be assessed using ultrasound. Your doctor may order a scan to evaluate the aorta for an aneurysm or your leg veins for a clot.
Pelvic and Obstetric (up to 13 weeks)
Drink 3 (8 oz.) glasses of any liquid one hour before your appointment. Be sure to eat. Do not empty your bladder.
Abdominal (abdomen, kidneys, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, RUQ, and spleen)
Patients must fast for 6 hours before exam.
What to Expect When Having an Ultrasound