An ultrasound exam is a type of imaging that uses sound waves to see inside the body. It is used on many parts of the body, depending on the questions a doctor has. The technologist uses a camera to look specifically at the area the doctor requests us to look at.
Why is an Ultrasound Exam Used?
Ultrasound is often the first study used because radiation is not used, as is typical with other imaging modalities. We will try to see the specific area the doctor is concerned about, which will help them to determine what type of imaging they may need to order to better make a diagnosis.
What can I Expect Before an Ultrasound Exam?
The preparation for this test depends on the part of the body being scanned. Some studies we need the patient to NOT eat anything for several hours before the test, while some we need them TO eat and drink before the exam. There are a few studies where it does not matter about food. Your nurse or physician will explain all of this to you before the exam.
Ultrasound exams can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the study. The quality of the pictures being taken depend on how well the child can stay still during the exam. It can help by bringing toys or items to distract younger patients.
During the Exam
During the exam, we are touching the patient, and it can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the study. Image quality is dependent upon the patient’s ability to be still. If the family can help by bringing toys, and distracting younger patients, it is very helpful for accurate results.
What can I Expect After an Ultrasound Exam?
You will receive a paper or digital copy of an after visit summary regarding when your ordering doctor will receive results. You may leave the department and will typically follow up with your doctor.
We do not often use anesthesia, however, if your child had anesthesia, he or she will be in the Procedure Center recovery area for 30 minutes to one hour after the test is done while he or she wakes up. Your child needs to be fully awake before going home.
If you have any questions, be sure to ask your doctor or nurse.