Ultrasound is used for a wide range of applications and does not use ionising radiation.
Commonly used in obstetric and gynaecological imaging, abdominal, small part, musculoskeletal and vascular examinations, ultrasound is performed using 'real time' pictures as opposed to still images. A water-based acoustic gel is applied directly onto the skin to improve the transmission of sound waves between the body and the ultrasound transducer or 'probe'. The reflected sound or echoes are recorded to create pictures.
How should I prepare for an ultrasound?
Our medical reception team will inform you of any preparation requirements when you call to schedule your ultrasound. If your referring doctor has requested an upper abdominal scan (liver, gall bladder or pancreas) you will be asked to fast for six hours beforehand. Conversely, kidney, bladder and prostate gland ultrasounds require a full bladder and you will be asked to drink one litre of water an hour before your scan. A full bladder is not required for scrotum or testes scans. There is no preparation for a musculoskeletal or vascular ultrasound examination, however arterial ultrasounds may require some preparation.
Please bring any previous X-rays with you on the day of your examination.
On the day of your appointment
Radiology Victoria's friendly staff will greet you on arrival and take your details.
A sonographer will collect you from the waiting area and escort you to the ultrasound room, where you may be asked to change into a gown. You may be seated for some musculoskeletal examinations, but for most studies you will be asked to lie down on an ultrasound table.
Acoustic gel will be applied over the area to be examined, then the sonographer will use a small probe or transducer to scan the area of interest and take a series of pictures. To optimise image quality, the sonographer may ask you to hold your breath or to move positions.
Ultrasounds are non-invasive and painless, however, if your bladder is full (required for studies such as pelvic scans) you may be slightly uncomfortable. If you experience discomfort during the procedure, please alert your sonographer who will help you.
The gel will be wiped from your skin after the ultrasound. This is water-soluble and easily removed from soiled clothing.
How long will the procedure take?
The duration of your ultrasound will depend on the type of scan requested. Most take about 20 minutes; some take up to an hour and vascular ultrasounds may take up to 90 minutes.
Once your ultrasound has been completed, our sonographer will take you back to reception. Our receptionist may give you either hard copy films or a CD to take with you. The radiologist will produce a report which will be sent directly to your GP or specialist - please contact your GP or specialist in order to discuss results.