Ultrasound Scan

ultrasound scan

Preparing for and understanding your Ultrasound Scan

If you have been referred for one of the following scans, please click on the relevant link as you will need to make special preparations. For any other type of scan listed on your appointment letter you will require no preparation. 

Exams requiring special preparation:

Abdominal Ultrasound Scan

Pelvic Ultrasound Scan

Abdominal and Pelvic Ultrasound Scan

Urinary Tract or Renal Ultrasound Scan (includes male prostate)

What is an Ultrasound Scan?

An ultrasound scan is an examination that involves taking pictures of the body using sound waves. Ultrasound can be used to look at all soft tissue structures and blood vessels. Pulses of ultrasound are sent through the skin into your body which then echo (‘bounce back’) from the various parts of the body, creating an image. The scan is carried out by a sonographer and the images recorded and interpreted to make a diagnosis. There are no side effects from this examination.

Arriving at the clinic

Please arrive at the clinic 15 minutes before your appointment. You must not be accompanied by children under 16. You will be greeted by a Clinical Assistant and/or a Sonographer and asked to sign a data sharing consent form. If you are likely to require a transvaginal, transrectal or testicular scan you will be asked to give written consent as this is an intimate examination. The examination will be explained to you prior to consent. For all other scans you will be asked to give verbal consent to the examination.

The examination

You may be asked to undress and put on an examination gown. You will be asked to lie down on a couch. Some lubricating gel will be applied to the part of the body to be scanned. This gel enables 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 an ultrasound machine and monitor. The probe is firmly moved over the surface of the skin and in some instances more pressure is required to produce optimal images on the monitor. 
 
For females pelvic scan: A procedure known as a trans-vaginal ultrasound scan may also be required. The transvaginal scan gives much clearer pictures of the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes than the abdominal scan, especially in absence of a full bladder. Your sonographer will decide if this is needed. For this scan the probe is about 6 inches long (15cm) and about one inch (2cm) in diameter and is inserted into your vagina. This enables closer contact to the female reproductive organs. The probe is gently rotated and ultrasound pictures are sent to the monitor screen. In some cases the sonographer may have to press harder to obtain adequate images.  
 
An ultrasound scan will normally take between 15 - 20 minutes or 20 - 40 minutes depending on the nature of the scan. Some of the more complex scans such as vascular Doppler can take up to one hour.

How will I get the results?

The ultrasound report will be completed by the sonographer and sent to the doctor who referred you for your ultrasound scan. You should telephone your practice to confirm that they have received your report before arranging an appointment to discuss the results. Only certain aspects of the examination may be discussed at the time of the scan.  Any further examinations and clinical treatments must be discussed between you and your GP.

Abdominal Ultrasound Scan

Preparation: Do not have anything to eat during the six hours before your appointment and please drink only water during this time. If you are diabetic you must check with your GP or practice nurse if you need to change your medication because you will be fasting for six hours.

Pelvic Ultrasound Scan 

Preparation: You can eat normally but you must drink at least one litre (2 pints) of water 45 minutes before your appointment. Do not empty your bladder before the scan. If you do not have a full bladder, it may not be possible to have the scan. 
At some of our locations we have male sonographers (the clinical people who carry out the scan).  If you prefer to have a female sonographer please let us know before you arrive by calling the telephone number on your appointment letter.
 

Abdominal and Pelvic Ultrasound Scan 

Preparation: Do not have anything to eat during the six hours before your appointment and please drink only water during this time. If you are diabetic you must check with your GP or practice nurse if you need to change your medication because you will be fasting for six hours. 
Please drink at least 1 litre (2 pints) of water 45 minutes prior your appointment. Do not empty your bladder before the scan. If you do not have a full bladder, it may not be possible to have the scan.
 
At some of our locations we have male sonographers (the clinical people who carry out the scan).  If you prefer to have a female sonographer please let us know before you arrive by calling the telephone number on your appointment letter.

Urinary Tract or Renal Ultrasound Scan (includes male prostate) 

This is also known as a KUB scan (kidneys, ureter and bladder)
 
Preparation: Please drink at least one litre (2 pints) of water 45 minutes before your appointment. Do not empty your bladder before the scan. If you do not have a full bladder, it may not be possible to have the scan.
 
 

 

This website and its content is copyright © InHealth 2017. Registered in England and Wales Company No. 04620480. Registered Office: Beechwood Hall, Kingsmead Road, High Wycombe, Bucks HP11 1JL.