What is an Ultrasound Scan?
An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the inside of the body. The image produced is called a sonogram. Ultrasound is sound that travels through soft tissue and fluids, but it bounces back, or echoes, off denser surfaces. This is how it creates an image. For example: The sound will travel straight through the gallbladder if there are no gallstones, but if there are stones, it will bounce back from them.
The denser the object the ultrasound hits, the more of the ultrasound bounces back.
This bouncing back, or echo, gives the ultrasound image its features. Varying shades of grey reflect different densities.
The sonographer ( The person that will carry out the scan) usually holds a transducer, a hand-held device, like a wand, which is placed on the patient's skin.
Is there any preparation for my scan?
Depending on the type of scan that you have been refereed for there may be some preparation required prior to the scan its self. This information is sent with your appointment letter.
Scans of the abdomen
Do not eat 6 hours prior to your appointment. If you are a diabetic and do not have an early morning appointment, please call us on the number at the top of your appointment letter. You can drink water (add squash to taste) up to the time of your appointment, continue to take any prescribed medications as usual.
Pelvic and lower abdominal scans may take up to 30 mins
Please drink at least 1 litre of fluid, one hour before your appointment time (please do not drink fizzy drinks). It is important that you arrive for the scan with a full bladder as this allows us to see your organs more clearly.
You can empty your bladder as soon as the lower abdominal scan has been completed. If you are unable to drink this amount of fluid due to heart or kidney disease, please contact us.
Information for female patients having a pelvic scan
An ultrasound examination of the pelvis can be done either externally or internally. Sometimes the pelvic organs are seen better with the use of an internal probe, the tip is inserted into the vagina after the bladder has been emptied. A sterile sheath is applied to the probe before insertion and jelly is applied to assist the introduction. The probe is inserted gently causing minimal discomfort.
If your appointment is likely to coincide with your period this does not affect the scan, but if you prefer not to have the scan during this time please telephone us on 01329 818114 to arrange an alternative date.
What happens when I arrive for my scan?
Please take your appointment letter with you to your appointment, please arrive at the clinic location approximately 10 mins prior to your appointment. When you arrive, please go to the reception staff and let let them know that you have arrived - You can not register using the electronic machine to let the Clinic know that you have arrived., you will need to speak to the receptionist. Once you have reported in for your arrival, you will be asked to take a seat in the appropriate waiting area for your scan, the clinical support worker managing the clinic will call your name when the Sonographer is ready to undertake your scan.
How long will my appointment take?
The scan will usually take around 20 mins