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What is an ultrasound?

Ultrasound is a diagnostic tool that uses sound waves to see inside the body. It provides still pictures as well as live images of tissues and organs, enabling physicians to watch organs as they move and assess blood flow through vessels. Since no x-rays are used, there is no radiation exposure with ultrasound.

Ultrasound can be used for examination of many body parts, including the:

  • abdomen
  • thyroid
  • chest
  • brain
  • obstetric
  • fetal

When is an ultrasound used?

Ultrasound is commonly used for OB exams to examine the health and positioning of the fetus. It also is useful in detecting swelling and abnormalities in organs, such as appendicitis and kidney stones. Ultrasound is used to identify cysts or tumors in the uterus, ovaries and prostate and identify clots in blood vessels or plaque buildup in arteries.

How do I prepare?

Preparation for ultrasound varies depending on the area of the body being examined. For most areas, there is no special preparation necessary. However, for best quality exam results, ultrasound of certain areas such as the abdomen requires an empty stomach, while other ultrasound exams, such as an OB exam, require a full bladder. You will be instructed when you schedule your appointment on the proper preparation for your exam.

Bring your physician's orders, insurance card and picture I.D. with you on the day of the exam. For your convenience, parking is available in the garage connected directly to our Center for Advanced Imaging across the street from the main hospital. Upon entering the Center, report to the Registration area located on the first floor. After registering for your test, you will be directed to the radiology reception area where a technologist will provide you further instructions about your procedure.

Family members are invited to stay in our waiting area for the duration of your procedure.

Click on your exam name below to view detailed prep instructions

Ultrasound Preps

Ultrasound Abdomen

Ultrasound Abdominal Doppler

Ultrasound Aorta

Ultrasound Bakers Cyst

Ultrasound Bladder 

Ultrasound Extremity Non-Vascular

Ultrasound Fertility Study

Ultrasound Gallbladder 

Ultrasound Groin 

Ultrasound Kidney

Ultrasound Liver

Ultrasound OB

Ultrasound Pancreas

Ultrasound Pelvis - transabdominal (TA) only

Ultrasound Pelvis - transvaginal (TV) only

Ultrasound Retroperitoneal

Ultrasound Scrotum

Ultrasound Soft Tissue

Ultrasound Spleen

Ultrasound Thyroid


What can I expect?

An ultrasound is essentially painless. A water-soluble gel is applied to the skin on the area of the body undergoing examination. A sonographer, a health care professional with special training in ultrasound technology, will glide a small device called a transducer along the area of study. The transducer sends ultrasound waves into the body. These sound waves are reflected off of structures inside the body. Information from the sound waves is captured, analyzed by a computer, and used to create an image on a monitor. The images or film are then sent for interpretation by a radiologist. On occasion, the radiologist may accompany the sonographer during the exam to view the image live.

When can I expect results?

A highly qualified radiologist will carefully review images taken during your ultrasound, and send a report to your physician within 48 hours but usually the same day. Please contact your physician for your results. If your physician ordered a stat exam, you may be asked to remain in the department until your physician has been informed of your results.

How do I schedule an ultrasound?

To schedule an ultrasound, call Central Scheduling at 847.723.5050.

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