You’re probably familiar with the term “ultrasound.” It’s an imaging technique that uses sound waves. Put it simply, it allows you to see inside the body. Given that, it’s not surprising to know that it has many uses in medicine. For instance, doctors often use it to diagnose conditions such as gallstones, pancreatitis, and liver disease.
Do you have an ultrasound appointment coming up? Want to know what to expect? If so, you’ve stumbled on the right page. We’ll be going over everything that you need to know about the topic. Keep reading to learn more!
What is an Ultrasound?
An ultrasound scan, also called a sonogram, uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of internal body structures. For instance, it can be used to view an individual’s organs, tissues, and vessels. Due to the fact that it uses no radiation, it is suitable for use during pregnancy. In fact, ultrasound images are often used to monitor fetal development. Interested in working as an ultrasound technician? Find out more at GCUS.
Why You Might Need an Ultrasound
There are several reasons why you might need an ultrasound. Most commonly, it is used for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For example, a doctor might order a scan to see whether or not a lump is cancerous. Surgeons also use it to guide certain procedures such as biopsies.
What to Do Before Your Ultrasound Appointment
Your doctor will likely tell you not to eat for 8 to 12 hours before your appointment. Why? Food can block the sound waves, which can make it difficult to get a clear image. With that said, it’s perfectly fine to drink water. In fact, some tests may require you to drink a lot of water—this allows them to get a better image.
How is an Ultrasound Performed?
At the doctor’s office, you will change into a gown. From there, an ultrasound technician will apply a lubricating gel to your skin. Next, they will place a transducer over the area. The gel might feel cold but there will be no discomfort or pain. The technician will simply move the transducer across your skin. Depending on the area, they might ask you to change positions. Following the procedure, they will wipe the gel off your skin. You are free to continue your daily activities afterward.
What Happens After the Procedure?
Your doctor will review the ultrasound images following the exam. Depending on the findings, they might ask you to schedule a follow-up appointment. In some cases, other diagnostic tests may be necessary. For instance, they might recommend an MRI, CT scan or biopsy.
Preparing For Your Appointment
Hopefully, that gives you a better idea of what to do before your ultrasound appointment. Remember, the specific instructions will depend on which part of the body they’ll be looking at!
Did you go for an ultrasound recently? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below!