Most ultrasound scans last between 15 and 45 minutes.Theyusually take place ina hospital radiologydepartment andare performed either by a radiologist or a sonographer.
They can also be carried out in community locations such as GP practices and may be performed by other healthcare professionals, such as midwives or physiotherapists who have been specially trained in ultrasound.
There are different kinds of ultrasound scans, depending on which part of the body is being scanned and why. The three main types are:
These techniques aredescribed below.
An external ultrasound scan is most often used to examine your heart or an unborn baby in your womb. It can also be used to examine the liver, kidneys and other organs in the tummy and pelvis, as well as other organs or tissues that can be assessed through the skin, such as muscles and joints.
A small handheld probe is placed onto your skin, and moved over the part of the body being examined.
A lubricating gel is put onto your skin to allow the probe to move smoothly. This also ensures there is continuous contact between the probe and the skin.
You should not feel anything other than the sensor and gel on your skin (which is often cold). If you are having a scan of your womb or pelvic area, you may have afull bladder that causes you a little discomfort. There will be a toilet nearby to empty your bladder once the scan is complete.
An internal examination allows a doctor to look more closely inside the body at organssuch as the prostate gland, ovaries or womb.
A 'transvaginal' ultrasound means 'through the vagina'.
During the procedure, you'll be asked to either lie on your back, or on your side with your knees drawn up towards your chest.
A smallultrasound probe with a sterile cover, not muchwider than a finger,isthen gently passed into the vagina or rectum, and images are transmitted to a monitor.
Internal examinations may cause some discomfort, but don'tusually cause any pain andshouldn't take very long.
During an endoscopic ultrasound scan,anendoscope is inserted into your body, usually through your mouth, to examine areas such as your stomach or gullet (oesophagus).
You'll usually be asked to lie on your side as the endoscope is carefully pushed down towards your stomach.
The endoscope has a light and an ultrasound device on the end. Once it has been inserted into the body, sound waves are used to create images in the same way as an external ultrasound.
You'll usually be given a sedative to keep you calm and local anaesthetic spray to numb your throat, as an endoscopic ultrasound scan can be uncomfortable andmay make you feel sick.You may also be given a mouth guard to keep your mouth open and protect your teeth, in case you bite the endoscope.
An ultrasound scan, sometimes called a sonogram, is a procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of part of the inside of the body.
Asmall device called an ultrasound probe is used, which gives off high-frequency sound waves. You can't hear these sound waves, but when they bounce off different parts of the body, they create "echo
Before having some types of ultrasound scan, you may be asked to follow certain instructions to help improve the quality of the images produced. For example, you may be advised to: drink water and
Most ultrasound scans last between 15 and 45 minutes.Theyusually take place ina hospital radiologydepartment andare performed either by a radiologist or a sonographer. They can also be carried out in
In most cases, there are no after-effects and you can go home soon after the scan is finished. If a sedative wasn't used, you can drive, eat, drink and return to your other normal activities straight
There are no known risks from the sound waves used in an ultrasound scan. Unlike some other scans, such as computerised tomography (CT) scans , ultrasound scans don't involve exposure to radiation .