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What is an Ultrasound scan?

An ultrasound scan uses sound waves to give a picture of the inside of your body. A small sensor, known as an ultrasound probe, is moved over your skin to look at your internal organs from different angles and the pictures are shown on a screen.

Ultrasound scans are used to look at many different parts of the body including the liver, gallbladder, kidneys, pelvic organs and joints. They can also be used to look at blood flow and to check for any thin, or blocked blood vessels.

Is it safe?

Yes, there are no known risks related to an ultrasound scan.

Can I bring a relative or friend?

Yes, they will be allowed into the scan room if you wish.

Please note – Children will not be allowed into the scan room whilst you are having the examination, so you need to make childcare arrangements for them before you come for your appointment.

Do I need an injection?

Most ultrasound procedures do not involve an injection; however, if one is required, information will be given to you at the time of your appointment.

What do I need to do before the scan?

Any preparation is dependent on which area of the body you are getting scanned. If you are having a scan of your abdomen (e.g. Liver, gall bladder or pancreas) you may be asked not to eat or drink for 6 hours before your scan. If you are diabetic, please contact the Radiology bookings team for advice.

If you are having a scan of your pelvis or kidneys, you be asked to drink water (1 litre) prior to your scan to make sure your bladder is full at the time of the scan.

Please tell the Radiology bookings team if you have had a similar ultrasound scan within the last 6 months.

What happens during my appointment?

When you arrive at Clemenceau Medical Center, please go to the main reception desk on the ground floor where you will be registered, and insurance or payment details taken. If you are covered by insurance, please bring your insurance membership number and authorisation code with you. Once complete, you will be directed to the Radiology Department reception, located on the Second Floor.

Please remember that if you have been advised to have a full bladder you shouldn’t go to the toilet until after the scan. If you start to feel uncomfortable whilst waiting for your scan, please let a member of staff know. Depending on which area you are having scanned, you may be required to change into a hospital gown. Secure facilities will be provided for your belongings whilst you have the scan.

Will I be comfortable?

Ultrasound scans do not cause any pain or discomfort. If you need to have a full bladder and begin to feel uncomfortable, please tell a member of staff.

If you are having an ultrasound scan because you have abdominal or pelvic pain, the Radiologist or Sonographer, may need to apply some pressure on the skin over the area to check what’s causing the pain. This may be uncomfortable but only during the scan.

What happens during my scan?

You will be asked to lie down on an ultrasound couch and the lights will be dimmed so that the pictures can be seen more clearly on the screen.

A cool, water-based gel will be applied to your skin over the area that is going to be scanned. The gel helps to improve the quality of the images. If your bladder isn’t full enough, the scan will be stopped, and you may be asked to drink more liquid.

The scan usually takes about 15-20 minutes and your entire appointment should last no more than an hour.

What happens after my scan?

After your scan, you can carry on with the rest of your day, including eating and drinking normally.

Are there any side-effects?

There are no side-effects and ultrasound scans are thought to be safe.

When will I get the results?

If appropriate, the Radiologist may discuss the findings with you but in most cases, you will need to make an appointment with your Doctor or Consultant to get your results. If a follow-up appointment is not already arranged, you will need to contact your Doctor or Consultant to make an appointment to discuss your results.

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