Ultrasound imaging, also called sonography, is a method of obtaining diagnostic images from inside the human body using high frequency sound waves.

Ultrasonography is used as a diagnostic tool that can assist doctors with making recommendations for further treatment.

What are some common uses of Ultrasound?

  • Viewing an unborn fetus
  • Examining many of the body’s internal organs, including the heart, liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, and bladder
  • Showing movement of internal tissues and organs, enable physicians to see blood flow and heart valve functions
  • Guiding procedures such as needle biopsies
  • Imaging the breast and guiding needle core biopsies
  • Evaluating superficial structures, such as the thyroid gland and scrotum (testicles)

How should I prepare for an Ultrasound?


  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing
  • Depending on the type of ultrasound exam you have, you will be asked to:
    • Refrain from eating or drinking for up to 12 hours before your appointment, or
    • Drink up to six glasses of water two hours prior to your exam and avoid urinating. This ensures a full bladder when the exam begins

 How should I prepare for a pregnancy or pelvic ultrasound?

You are being prepared for an exam that requires you to have a full bladder. To ensure best results, please follow these instructions:

  • Two hours before exam time, empty your bladder. You may not empty your bladder again until your exam is complete.
  • Immediately after your last urination, begin drinking 1.5 quarts of liquid (no milk or dairy products). Drink a cup every fifteen minutes. It takes two hours to fill the bladder, so do not wait to start drinking just before your exam time.
  • Finish drinking all your liquids 30 minutes before your exam time. Your bladder will feel extremely uncomfortable. Please remember to not urinate until after your ultrasound exam is completed.

What should I expect during this procedure?


The examination usually takes less than 30 minutes. After being positioned on the exam table, a clear gel is applied in the area being examined; it may feel a bit cold. The gel helps the transducer make contact with the skin. The technologist firmly presses the transducer against the skin and moves it back and forth to image the area of interest.


Generally, the technologist is able to review the ultrasound images in real-time. Alternatively, when the examination is complete and the gel is wiped off, you may be asked to dress and wait while the ultrasound images are reviewed, either on film or monitor.

For more information, visit: Radiologyinfo.org/Ultrasound