Ultrasound is a safe and widely used test that produces detailed images of the body in real time. It is performed by a sonographer; a specially trained health professional.
During the ultrasound exam, a hand held device called a transducer will be placed on your skin over the area of interest. This device emits high-frequency sound waves into the body. These sound waves are reflected by the different types of tissues and organs in your body and these echoes are converted into an image by the ultrasound machine. As ultrasound does not emit ionising radiation it is considered safe in pregnant women and children.
Ultrasound has a wide variety of applications and your doctor may refer you for a number of reasons. Most people are familiar with ultrasound use during pregnancy but it can also provide high quality images of the organs in the abdomen and pelvis, assessment of the musculoskeletal system and breast, as well as dynamic visualisation of the blood vessels of the body.
Preparation for your exam depends on the body part that is being imaged. Please refer to the specific examination page for details.
Your ultrasound exam will generally be completed in 30 minutes, but some examinations may take longer, for example certain obstetric (pregnancy) scans or vascular (blood vessel) studies.
A radiologist (specialist medical doctor) will review the images and provide a written report to your doctor. On occasion, the radiologist may personally attend your examination to examine you or discuss your issue, while viewing the images in real time.
Ultrasound is a safe test and is used extensively in children as there is no radiation and there are no known risks from ultrasound. The tests are performed in the same way as adults but modified to suit children. Some scans may require a paediatric radiologist. We will inform you if this is required at the time of booking.