Ultrasound imaging, also known as sonography, is a procedure that uses harmless high-frequency sound waves to produce an image of the inside of the body. The patient is not exposed to any ionizing radiation in an ultrasound exam. Ultrasound imaging is particularly useful because it allows for real-time imaging of the movement of the body's internal organs, as well as fluids (i.e., blood) flowing through the body.

How to Prepare for your Visit


Some types of ultrasound procedures require that you not eat or drink for as many as 12 hours prior to your appointment. Other types of ultrasound exams may require you to drink lots of water so that your bladder is full for the procedure. Yet others have no such requirement, so check with your doctor or with us prior to your visit to make sure you are prepared.


Most ultrasound exams involve the patient lying face up on an exam table. A clear, water-based gel is applied to the area of the body in question in order to reduce interference between the ultrasound equipment and the skin. Often, this gel will feel cold and wet. The area will be wiped clean after the exam is over. The ultrasound technician (sonographer) will then apply a transducer (wand-like part of the ultrasound machine) firmly to the skin to begin the imaging. The image will appear on a computer screen in black, white and grayscale. The technician or physician performing the exam will use the computer during the ultrasound exam to capture and record a still image of the internal area being evaluated. Most ultrasound examinations are painless and are completed within 30 minutes to an hour. If a Doppler ultrasound is performed, you may actually hear some of the pulsing sound waves changing as blood flow is monitored. Otherwise, most ultrasounds operate at a frequency outside of the normal human hearing range and therefore you will not hear the ultrasound.