Ultrasound exams are very common nowadays. Ultrasound uses waves of sound to create images that show the region of interest and the doctors then determine the cause of pain or injury. The procedure is non-invasive and doesn’t take much time. The most common use of ultrasound we see is to see the baby’s movement inside its mother’s womb. Today we’ll tell you about ultrasound imaging, what to expect, and how to prepare for such an exam.
How You Should Prepare
Preparation for an ultrasound imaging exam is not that hard, really. It’s quite easy and straightforward. Wear something that feels comfortable, preferably loose-fitting clothes. During the exam, you may need to remove clothing from the area that is to be examined. You will be asked to wear a hospital gown during the exam.
The type of exam you’re getting will decide the type of preparation you will need. For some ultrasound exams, the doctors need their patients to not drink or eat for as many as 12 hours. Other exams require you to drink up to six glasses of water and not pee for two hours before the exam so your bladder remains full during the scan. Your doctor will specifically tell you what to do and what not to do.
If you are worried about what kind of equipment you will be getting examined with, don’t be. The ultrasound scanner doesn’t require you anything scary, e.g. get inside a giant magnet. The 3D ultrasound images machine has a computer console, a monitor, and an attached transducer or probe.
How Ultrasound Imaging Works
As mentioned earlier, the Ultrasound imaging machine consists of three things: a computer console, a video display screen, and an attached transducer. The transducer is moved along the patient’s skin and it sends sound waves or echoes to the computer. The computer takes those waves and creates images of the internal of the patient. The monitor then shows the images. In a typical ultrasound exam, millions of waves and echoes are transferred every second.
For the ultrasound exam, you will lie face-up on the exam table. Then the sonographer will apply ultrasound gel on your body’s area that is to be examined. The is water-soluble and doesn’t drip. It spreads nicely and it will help the transducer make contact with the body and remove any air pockets between the transducer and your body. This is important because air pockets may block the sound waves from passing into your body and that will not give a good image.
The sonographer will just move the transducer along your body and the computer will create images of your internals which the monitor will show. If the doctors take a 3D image, it will take some time since 3D images cannot be seen in real-time.
Rarely the doctors will ask their patients to be sedated. In most cases, the patient remains wide awake during the procedure. Ultrasound doesn’t have any risks involved. And the procedure is done smoothly.