Couple looking at ultrasound image of baby
Couple looking at ultrasound image of baby

Ultrasound

Providence’s highly trained sonographers and ultrasound technicians are committed to providing you with comprehensive diagnostic ultrasounds.

Each ultrasound, screening and sonogram is meant to give your doctors the ability to detect, diagnose and treat conditions that may afflict your internal organs before they worsen. These include breast lumps, thyroid issues, prostate conditions, blood clots, gallstones, kidney stones, tumors and liver function. During pregnancy, doctors also use ultrasound screenings to examine the fetus and ensure positive fetal growth and wellbeing.

An ultrasound, sometimes called a sonogram, is a diagnostic imaging technique that uses inaudible high-frequency sound waves emitted through the body to create an image of your internal organs on screen.

With the ultrasound, your doctor is able to assess blood flow through various vessels and the overall condition of some of your most vital organs, such as the liver, spleen, gallbladder and kidneys.

During your ultrasound, you will be asked to wear a hospital gown and lie on an exam table. Depending on the type of ultrasound or the organs targeted for imaging, you lie either on your back or your side.

Because a sonogram uses soundwaves to create images, a gel is gently rubbed on your skin to eliminate any air particles that may interfere with the results of the sonogram.

Once the gel has been applied, a small Doppler probe called a transducer is placed above the part of the body being screened. The probe sends ultrasonic sound waves to different areas of your abdomen.

When the transducer is placed at certain angles, the ultrasonic sound waves move through the various tissues and organs. The sound waves bounce off the tissues and return to the transducer.

The transducer picks up the reflected waves, which are then converted into an electronic picture of your internal organs. Those reflected sound waves are taken by the sonogram machine and electronically rendered on screen to produce live images of the internal organs as they operate.

The complete ultrasound takes about 15 to 30 minutes and is pain free. Your sonographer is available throughout the entire process to answer questions and make sure that your screening experience is smooth and comfortable.

The ultrasound is risk-free because it is noninvasive and doesn’t require radiation to image your internal organs like an X-ray would. Ultrasound may be safely used during pregnancy or in the presence of allergies to contrast dye because no radiation or contrast dyes are used.

The only possible complication involves pre-existing conditions that could potentially affect your ultrasound results. Certain health conditions, such as intestinal gas and severe obesity, can affect the way the sonogram machine interprets the sound waves it produces. These can alter abdominal ultrasound results. Be sure to consult your doctor if you suffer from conditions that can affect your screening.