Ultrasound in Fall River, Dartmouth, New Bedford & Wareham, MA
An ultrasound (or sonography) is a common imaging technology. Unlike X-rays, ultrasound does not expose you to ionizing radiation. Instead, it uses painless sound waves to see real-time images of inside the body. Since ultrasound is in real time, it shows internal structures as they move and can give insight into how an organ, such as the heart, is functioning. Ultrasound is also a routine imaging test for prenatal care.
During an ultrasound, a technologist moves a small, hand-held transducer over the skin of a specific area, such as the chest. A water-based gel helps the transducer maintain contact with your skin. A radiologist will interpret the result and share them with your doctor. In some cases, the radiologist may discuss the results with you at the appointment.
Reasons for an Ultrasound
Your doctor at Southcoast Health may recommend an ultrasound to:
- Check the progress of a pregnancy and fetal development
- Evaluate the cause of symptoms, such as pain, swelling or infection
- Examine blood vessels and blood flow
- Examine internal organs and tissues
- Guide procedures, such as needle biopsies
How to Prepare for an Ultrasound at Southcoast
Usually, there is very little preparation for an ultrasound. If you need a full bladder for the exam, your doctor will ask you to drink several glasses of water and not urinate prior before the test. Other exams are the opposite, and you will need to fast the day of your ultrasound. You should wear loose, comfortable clothing and leave jewelry at home. For some exams, you may need to wear a gown.
Ultrasounds typically take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. During the exam, you may feel pressure as the transducer moves over your skin. The technologist or radiologist views the ultrasound image on a computer monitor and takes still pictures for reference. Once the ultrasound is complete, you can return to your normal activities.
Southcoast Health is relied on for imaging exams and ultrasounds in Fall River, North Dartmouth, New Bedford, Wareham, MA and Middletown, Rhode Island.