McLaren Health Care
Ultrasound

Ultrasound

Ultrasound is defined as sound with a frequency greater than 20,000 Hertz, above the range audible to the human ear. An ultrasound exam, or sonogram, is a safe and generally non-invasive procedure that utilizes high-frequency sound waves to image an internal body structure. A machine is used to produce high-frequency sound waves that are transmitted through a hand-held transducer into the body.

  • Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of internal body structures.
  • An ultrasound exam may be ordered to look at internal organs like the liver, reproductive organs, or blood vessels.
  • State-of-the-art equipment ensures that the radiologist gets an ideal view.
  • Your scan will be interpreted by a radiologist.
  • Ultrasound exams typically take 30 minutes.
  • The exam is performed by a trained professional called a sonographer, who will apply a clear gel then move a hand-held wand called a transducer, over the area to be scanned.
  • You will feel pressure from the transducer, but ultrasound is painless and does not use x-ray radiation.
  • For certain exams, you may have to change positions, hold your breath, or have a full bladder.
MRI

Common Uses

  • Abdomen: Ultrasound can be used to detect gallstones, check the health of the liver, kidneys, pancreas, and spleen, and monitor the success of a kidney transplant.

  • Blood vessels: Ultrasound exams can reveal enlargements in vessels, blood clots, or narrowing of arteries leading to the brain, which could result in stroke.

  • Pelvis: Ultrasound is used to image the uterus, ovaries, and other structures within the pelvis. It may assist in determining the source of pain or bleeding in the female pelvis.

  • Tissue differentiation: Ultrasound can locate lumps in organs and tissues and can often distinguish the difference between fluid-filled cysts and solid tumors. It is frequently used to guide a needle biopsy (removal of tissue using a needle instead of surgery) and can be used to help detect prostate cancer and monitor treatment.

  • Pregnancy: Ultrasound is regarded as the gold standard diagnostic exam for monitoring pregnancy.

Safety

There are no known harmful effects on humans for standard diagnostic ultrasound. Ultrasound imaging uses no ionizing radiation.

Before the Ultrasound

You will receive specific instructions based on the type of ultrasound you are undergoing. In general, the following guidelines apply.

  • Food and drink: If you are having an abdominal ultrasound, do not eat or drink anything eight hours prior to your exam. Pelvic ultrasound prep requires that you drink 32 ounces of water at least one hour prior to your scheduled exam. Other ultrasound exams such as thyroid, scrotal, and vascular studies do not require any preparation.

  • When to arrive: You should arrive 10 minutes prior to your appointment time.

  • What to wear: You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You will have the option to change into a gown.

During the Ultrasound

  • Scanning: A sonographer, a healthcare professional specially trained in the use of ultrasound, will apply a gel to the skin over the area being examined. The gel maximizes contact between the transducer (a microphone-like device) and the skin, thereby producing high-quality images.

    The sonographer then passes the transducer over the targeted area and obtains the desired diagnostic data. Depending on the type of exam, you may have to lie still, change positions, hold your breath, or perform simple breathing exercises.

    Transvaginal and transrectal ultrasound are specialized tests that can provide better images than traditional ultrasound or other diagnostic methods. For these exams, a smaller, specially designed transducer may be inserted into the vagina or rectum.

After the Ultrasound

  • Instructions: You have no restrictions after having an ultrasound and can go about your normal activities.

  • Exam results: Ultrasound exams are interpreted by a radiologist. Under normal circumstances, the reports are available electronically to the ordering physician 24-48 hours. Your referring physician will communicate these results to you.

Events

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Baby Basics

1201 South Drive
Womens Medical Center Suite 220
Mt. Pleasant

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4 Week Childbirth Series - Tuesdays - November 19 - December 10

3175 West Professional Drive
Health Pavilion
Bay City

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Breastfeeding Class - Wednesday

3175 W Professional Dr
Health Pavilion
Bay City

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Breastfeeding

401 S. Ballenger Highway
Flint
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