The actual Ultrasound isn't as scary as most people think.
An ultrasound technician or sonographer is trained specially to accurately perform an ultrasound examination.
During most ultrasound examinations, the ultrasound technician or sonographer will have you lay on your back on an examination table. You may be asked to turn onto your side, or occasionally on your stomach, in order to produce a better image.
After being positioned on the table, the technician will apply a warm water based gel to the area of your body being studied. Gel is applied to your skin in order to keep air pockets that can block the sound waves from forming. (Read more about this here.)
The instrument used during an ultrasound is called a transducer. The transducer is placed on your body, over the gel and moved back and forth to capture the images. The transducer emits high-frequency sound and records the echoes, which determines the size, shape, and consistency of soft tissues and organs. This instrument resembles a handheld microphone. Some examinations will require a different type of transducer.
Depending on what type of ultrasound you are having done, the experience can be different. Most ultrasounds are completed where the transducer is placed on the surface of the skin. Other ultrasounds include inserting a special transducer into one of the body’s natural openings in order to create a better image.
During a transvaginal ultrasound, the transducer is inserted into a woman’s vagina to view the uterus and ovaries.
During a transrectal ultrasound, the transducer is inserted into a man’s rectum to view the prostate.
During a transesophageal echocardiogram, the transducer is inserted into the esophagus to view the heart.
The transducer sends sound waves and receives echoing waves to develop ultrasound images of inside the body, which is shown in real time on a computer screen.
A Doppler is a type of ultrasound, which creates images of blood flow through blood vessels. The same type of transducer would be used in the Doppler sonography as a standard ultrasound.
Ultrasound examinations are painless. Examinations that require an inserted transducer can cause some minor discomfort. A standard ultrasound generally takes up to 30 minutes to complete.
Above: Patient receiving an ultrasound test.
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IMPORTANT: The information on this page, and throughout the entire site, is not intended to provide advice or treatment for a specific situation. Consult your physician and medical team for information and treatment plans on your specific condition(s). Images are shown for illustrative purposes. Do not attempt to draw conclusions or make diagnoses by comparing these image to other medical images, particularly your own.
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