An ultrasound scan is an imaging technique that uses high frequency sound waves to get an image of the individuals internal features. Sonographers and doctors usually use ultrasounds to analyse a growing baby in the womb, the abdominal and pelvic area, muscles, or heart and blood vessels.
How Ultrasound Scans Work?
When sonographers carry out the ultrasound scan they use a device called a ultrasound probe that gives off high frequency sound waves. Whilst moving the probe around the part of body that the scan is being carried out it generates echoes through sound waves bouncing off different parts of the body and are turned into a moving image. The image is displayed on the ultrasound monitor where the sonographers can monitor or diagnose a condition.
Preparing for your Ultrasound Scan
Before attending your ultrasound scan the sonographer or doctor will inform you to follow some steps so that the images from the ultrasound scans can be improved. Here are some examples:
• if you are having a scan for your unborn baby or for the pelvic sector then you may be asked to drink water to fill up your bladder and not go to the toilet. However, if you are very urgent and have to go to the toilet then continue drinking straight after to fill up the bladder again.
• if you are having a scan for your digestive system, liver and gallbladder then you may be asked to fast for around 6 hours before the scan. This could mean that you are not allowed to eat but are still allowed to drink, however you may be told not to eat or drink for the hours told.
• if you are having a scan for your pelvis/KUB then you will be required to drink 1 litre of water 90 minutes before the the appointment and to hold your bladder as best as you can.
• if you are having a scan for your abdomen the you will be required to fast for 6 hours with no food and no milk. However, you can have black tea, coffee and drink water as normal. If you are diabetic then you can have dry toast, crackers and take any medication as normal.
Depending on the ultrasound scan that you are going for and the body parts that are being examined you may be asked to remove some clothing in order to carry out the scan more effectively.
During your Ultrasound Scan
Most ultrasound scans will last between 15 and 45 minutes. CuRx will come to your local GP to carry out the ultrasound scan by professional and specially trained sonographers and doctors. There are 2 different type of ultrasound scans which comes down to the area of the body being scanned and the reason for the scan.
The 2 types of scans include:
• an external ultrasound scan:
during this ultrasound scan the probe will be moved on the skin around the area of the body that needs to be examined. This is often used to scan an unborn baby in the womb or for the heart.
• an internal ultrasound scan:
during this ultrasound scan the probe will be inserted into the body. This helps the sonographers and doctors to look more closely into the area that is being scanned. This is often used in transvaginal ultrasounds to examine the ovaries or womb.
After your ultrasound scan
After the ultrasound scan is completed you can continue with your day as normal unless told otherwise. Our sonographers and doctors will need to examine the images from the ultrasound scan and the report containing your results will be sent to your doctor that referred you for the ultrasound scan. We want to get your results as quickly as possible to you and don’t want to keep you waiting which is why the reports will be sent within 48hours, and reports for urgent scans are sent within 24hours
Are there are risks or side effects when having an ultrasound scan?
Ultrasound scans have no risks that we know of. The high frequency sound waves that they give out do not cause any exposure to radiation unlike CT scans or other scans.
Internal and external ultrasound scans have no side effects and cause no pain. However, when the sonographer or doctor uses the probe to carry out the scan it may cause some discomfort when moved across the skin, or inserted into your body.
Are you having an internal scan? Allergic to latex? If yes then it is very important for you to inform the sonographer and doctors that you are allergic to latex to avoid complications. The sonographer or doctor that will be carrying out the scan will ensure that they use a latex-free probe cover whilst carrying out your internal ultrasound scan.
Here at CuRx, we aim for excellent patient satisfaction when undergoing one of the services that we deliver. This is why we have both female and male sonographers to ensure that all our patients are comfortable and happy when undergoing their ultrasound scans.