Ultrasound uses sound waves to create moving images of soft tissues of the body. The images are very high quality, and let doctors see small differences in tissue. This is especially useful in helping solve medical problems. Ultrasound is painless and doesn’t need surgery. It’s one of the safest tools used in medicine today.

Ultrasound can create excellent images of:

  • A fetus (unborn child)
  • Liver
  • Gallbladder
  • Blood vessels
  • Heart
  • Thyroid
  • Uterus (womb)
  • Ovaries
  • Many other parts of the body
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  • An ultrasound takes place in a dimly-lit, spacious, private exam room. You'll lie down on a cushioned exam table.

    A technician will place warm gel on the area to be scanned. The technician will move a wand across the area, and the ultrasound machine will create images of the area.

    You may be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds during the exam. The exam will usually take 20 minutes to an hour, depending on the type exam.

  • The wand makes sound that you can't hear. The sound bounces off the area being scanned, and returns to the wand. The ultrasound machine "reads" the sound and creates moving, real-time images. The machine will record both still and moving images for the exam.

  • Your doctor will let you know how to prepare for the exam. You may need to not eat or drink for eight to 10 hours. Or, you might need a full bladder. For some exams, you might not need to prepare at all. 

    If you need to change into a gown, you can do it in the same room as your exam.