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ultrasound

What is an ultrasound?
When is ultrasound used?
How do I prepare?
What can I expect?
When can I expect results?
How do I schedule an appointment?

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 blood vessels, 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
  • eyes

When is 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.

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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. Your doctor will instruct you on proper preparation for your exam.

Bring your physician's referral, insurance card and picture I.D. with you on the day of the exam. For your convenience, free parking is available across from the main entrance of the hospital. Once inside the hospital, please report to the Admitting Department, located to the right of the main lobby. For privacy and safety reasons, children under the age of 12 may not be left unattended in the waiting area and are not permitted in the treatment area during the exam.

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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 sonographer prints the images or film for interpretation by a radiologist. On occasion, the radiologist may accompany the sonographer during the exam to view the image live.

In cases of ultrasound-guided biopsy, paracentesis or aspiration, the ultrasound is used to locate the area being evaluated. The area is then cleaned with a sterile soap and numbed with a local anesthetic. The radiologist uses a needle and extracts fluid or tissue.

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When can I expect results?

A highly qualified radiologist on staff at Trinity Hospital will carefully review images taken during your ultrasound, and send a report to your physician within 3-5 working days. 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.

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How do I schedule an ultrasound?

To schedule an ultrasound, call 773.967.1000.

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