Ultrasound imaging, also known as ultrasound scanning or sonography, is a safe, painless and non-invasive medical test that involves taking pictures of the body using sound waves.
Ultrasound is used to look at soft tissue structures and blood vessels. Pulses of ultrasound are sent through the skin to produce an echo (“bounce back”) and image from the various parts of the body.
The patient is asked to lie down on an examination table. Gel is applied to the areas to be examined, enabling the clinician to get better contact between your skin and the ultrasound probe. The probe is similar to a very thick, blunt pen and is connected by a wire to the ultrasound machine and monitor. Pulses of ultrasound are sent from the probe through the skin to the part of the body being examined. The probe is gently moved over the surface of the skin and an image is produced on the monitor.
The preparation for this test will depend on the type of ultrasound procedure your doctor has ordered. Some preparations include drinking a quart of water before the test to obtain better images, or you may be asked to not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the exam. Your doctor will provide instructions.