An ultrasound examination obtains a picture of the inside of the body without the use of X-Ray…

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It involves high frequency sound waves which are transmitted through the skin and reflected by the internal organs and structures. These ‘echoes’ form a picture on a screen which can be examined for any abnormalities. The procedure should not be painful.

Many parts of the body can be investigated by ultrasound but the technique is commonly used to examine the abdominal organs (liver and kidney), the pelvis, the heart and the major blood vessels. Other areas which may be examined include the eyes, breasts, and thyroid gland. Most pregnancies are now monitored by ultrasound examination to assess the age, health and position of the unborn baby.

All pregnant women are routinely offered a dating scan, usually around 12 weeks and an anomaly scan around 20 weeks.

Areas of the body which cannot be successfully examined by ultrasound are those covered by bone, for example the adult brain, and those filled with air, like the lungs. Abnormalities which may show up in ultrasound examinations include cysts, tumours and infections. Blockages in major blood vessels can also be detected. Ultrasound is a very safe technique and can be used to examine adults, children and babies.

If you are given a request form for an ultrasound scan you will need to make an appointment.

What do I need to do before my scan?

For most ultrasound examinations no specific care is needed before the test. However, to examine certain areas of the body successfully, special preparation is sometimes required. Please read your appointment letter very carefully, it will give you full instructions on how to prepare for the scan.

The Ultrasound departments across the trust are all very busy and work on an appointment system only. If you cannot attend or think you might be late please ring us.

If you are having a pelvis examination the internal organs can be seen better if you have a full bladder.  You may therefore be asked to drink 1 – 1 1/2 pints of fluid i.e. 4 – 6 large glasses about 1 hour before the test.

If you are having your gall-bladder or pancreas investigated you will be instructed to stop eating or drinking 6 hours before the test.   This will minimise any air or gas in your stomach or bowel,  which may obscure the organs we are scanning.

If the area to be examined is underneath your clothing you may be asked to to remove some clothing and given a  hospital gown.

Obstetric Scanning

Will it hurt?

Ultrasound is quite painless but the sonographer will have to press sometimes quite hard on your tummy to see the baby clearly.

Can I have a picture?

Yes we will try and give you a good picture , however babies do move around a lot and it is not always possible to see them clearly.  Please ask at the beginning of the examination.  There is a charge for this picture.

Will you be able to tell me the sex of my baby?

We can not always tell  the sex  but if you wish to know please ask.  We will tell you if we can see clearly.

Can my husband/partner come in with me?

Yes we do allow husbands/partners/ other children to come in for the obstetric scans ONLY , but please understand the sonographer needs to concentrate during the examination.

Why do I have to come back sometimes?

Sometimes babies lie in an awkward position and it is not always possible to see everything clearly so you may be asked to return at a later date.

Why do I need a full bladder?

When the sonographer is scanning she will look at the baby through your bladder and if it is not full they may not be able to see it clearly, and you may have to have to come back.

Can I claim expenses if I am on Income Support?

Yes if you are on income support ask at  Reception and we will tell you what you have to do to claim.

General Ultrasound Questions

Will it hurt?

Ultrasound is quite painless but the sonographer will sometimes have to press  hard on your tummy to see the area they need to. 

Can I claim expenses if I am on Income Support?

Yes if you are on income support ask at  Reception and we will tell you what you have to do to claim.

Why do I need a full bladder?

When the sonographer is scanning she will look at some areas of your body through your bladder and if it is not full they will not be able to see clearly, and you might have to come back.

Can someone come in with me?

Not normally but for children or people who are particularly anxious it may be possible, if it is safe to do so.

If I am taking tablets do I need to stop?

No there is no need to stop any medication.

I am a diabetic do I stop taking my insulin or any other drugs?

If you are a diabetic please contact the department before you attend.

How do I get my results?

If you have been referred by your GP the results will be sent to the doctor who referred you, this normally takes between 7 – 10 days.

If you have been referred by a Hospital doctor the results will be at clinic on your next visit, or they will contact you.

During the Test

In the examination room you will be made comfortable on a couch, lying in a position which allows the sonographer to examine the area needing investigation.  The room will be slightly darkened and a screen will be beside the bed. Clear gel will be put on your skin over the area being examined. This helps the transmission of the sound waves through the skin.  The gel will wipe off easily after the test, but it is best not to wear any clothes which could be damaged by stains.

The sonographer will then slide a small hand-held instrument transmitting the sound waves over the skin and examine the pictures displayed on the screen. The instrument causes no pain but if the area being examined is already a little tender, there may be minor discomfort if the sonographer has to press more firmly in order to obtain a clear picture.

The examination may take between 10 and 45 mins during which time you may be asked to change position to allow the area to be looked at from different angles.

After the Test

If you are having the ultrasound examination as an out-patient it is likely that you will be allowed to return home after the test. Providing no other investigations are required, you will be able to eat, drink and resume normal activities as soon as you wish.

A report of the examination will be sent to your doctor. You should discuss details of the result and any necessary treatment with your GP or hospital specialist – whoever recommended you to have the test.

If you have any queries about your appointment please contact the relevant department:

Doncaster General Ultrasound: 01302 642600

Doncaster Maternity Ultrasound: 01302 644577

Bassetlaw Ultrasound: 01302 642600

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