Ultrasound is also known as sonography, which involves exposing body parts to high frequency sound waves to generate images of what’s inside your body.
Ultrasound doesn’t use X-ray or ionizing radiation. Since ultrasound images need to be captured in real-time, they may show the movement and structure of the internal organs of the body.
The images may also show the blood circulation through your blood vessels.
How Does an Ultrasound Work?
More often than not, the majority of ultrasound examinations are easy, painless, and fast. A registered sonographer at a Syracuse NY medical imaging center may ask you to lie down on the bed. Then, they will apply a gel on your skin, specifically around the area being imaged. After that, a sonographer will use a transducer on the skin to get the necessary images.
Such images will then be interpreted and analyzed by a certified radiologist before you or your physician get a hold of the results.
Some people associate ultrasound with pregnancy only. But, it also has countless other uses. Physicians may ask patients to undergo ultrasound if they are experiencing swelling, pain, or some symptoms that need an internal view of several body organs, including uterus, spleen, pancreas, liver, kidneys, gallbladder, bladder, thyroid, blood vessels, and so on.
However, before you proceed with your ultrasound or any procedure in a medical center or site, it is important to know how to prepare for it.
Preparing for an Ultrasound
There is nothing really much to prepare for this kind of examination. The requirements you need to comply with will depend on the organ or area that needs to be examined, or the type of ultrasound you’ll undergo.
Here are some of the types of Ultrasound:
- Abdomen Ultrasound
Your physician might tell you to fast for 8-12 hours before an abdomen ultrasound. The reason behind it is that undigested food may block sound waves, which would make it hard for technicians to get the images they need.
- Spleen, Liver, Pancreas or Gallbladder Ultrasound
Your doctor might tell you to eat meals that are fat-free for your dinner before your ultrasound. You will also have to fast until your ultrasound. But, you may drink water and take medications as long as your doctor instructed you to do so. For some examinations, you might be asked to drink lots of water and hold your urine so your bladder will be visualized better.
- Pelvic Ultrasound
If your uterus, ovary or fallopian tubes are the body organs that need to be examined, you have to drink 32 oz of water 30 minutes before the procedure. You also have to avoid urinating until the procedure is done.
- Other Body Parts
If you need an ultrasound for your thyroid, shoulders, kidneys, breasts, appendix or other musculoskeletal areas, you don’t need to prepare for anything.
Other Things to Note When Preparing for Your Ultrasound
It is important to wear loose clothing before your ultrasound.
- If possible, leave your jewelry pieces at home. You will have to get rid of them before your ultrasound, anyway.
- Typically, ultrasound takes about 30-60 minutes.
- See to it that your doctor is aware about the different prescription drugs, herbal supplements, or some over-the-counter medications that you are taking or have taken before the ultrasound. This will help your doctor determine the other things that you should know before you undergo the said examination.
- Whether you like it or not, you have to follow everything that your doctor says. Keep all of the instructions in mind and never hesitate to ask questions.
Ultrasound is not a risky procedure. When compared to CT scans or X-rays, an ultrasound does not use radiation. Due to this, it’s a preferred method for pregnancy examination.
In many cases, ultrasound is painless even if you may feel discomfort from the transducer’s pressure, especially if you need a full bladder scan. Once ultrasound is done, you can do your usual daily routine immediately.
The Bottom Line
Preparation for various medical procedures is dependent on the kind of procedure you’re going to undergo. It works the same with ultrasound. There are different types of ultrasound, as well as new ultrasound treatments.
The preparation may vary depending on the specific instructions of your physician. If there are some things that are not clear to you, call your physician immediately and ask as many questions as you want to avoid any possible problems in the long run. Finding the right medical imaging center can also make a huge difference in getting the best ultrasound results as not all have state-of-the-art facilities and accommodating staff.