What is it?
An ultrasound scan creates a real-time picture of the inside of the body using sound waves. Ultrasound can be used for screening, diagnosis or to help with treatment. There are no x-rays involved in ultrasound scanning.
What do I need to do before the procedure?
Make sure you remember to bring any previous films or reports to the appointment. Wear loose fitting clothing so that the area to be scanned is easily exposed. If the ultrasound is going to be around your abdomen or pelvis, wearing two piece clothing will mean you don’t have to get undressed.
Some ultrasounds will require special preparations:
- Abdominal ultrasound - you will need to fast for 6 to 8 hours before
- Breast ultrasound - do not apply any lotions or powders on your breasts as they may make it harder to see the results. Do not use underarm deodorants before the appointment
- Pelvic, pregnancy and bladder ultrasounds - Drink 1 litre of water before the appointment and do not empty bladder until asked to do so.
- Prostate ultrasound - Fast for 6 hours before the ultrasound. Don’t go to the toilet within 2 hours of the appointment. Drink 1 litre of water before attending and do not empty bladder until asked to do so.
What will happen?
Ultrasound gel will be placed on your skin. This allows a good contact between the probe and your skin so the images are clearer. The probe is moved around the surface of the skin. You may feel firm pressure in certain areas but it should not be painful.
Sometimes a specialist doctor needs to be called in. Don’t panic if this happens, it is to make sure you get the most accurate results possible. For some ultrasounds, the doctor has to attend due to Medicare rules.
What can I expect after?
There are no after-effects from having an ultrasound. Once it is finished, you can go home. Your results will be sent to your GP or specialist.