Ultrasonography is a medical imaging technique that uses ultrasounds. It is a very simple and completely painless exam.
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About the Exam
To perform an ultrasound, the radiologist uses a probe placed against the skin over the organ being examined. This probe produces ultrasounds that penetrate tissues and are bounced back to it in the form of a signal. Once collected, this signal will be analyzed by a computer system that then transmits an image directly back to a video screen.
This exam, lasting approximately 10 to 20 minutes, enables multiple abdominal (liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, bladder, genitals) and neck (thyroid, ganglions) organs to be studied, as well as blood vessels (arteries and veins), ligaments and the heart.
In order to obtain a precise diagnosis, certain types of ultrasounds require advance preparation.
- Abdominal ultrasound: Do not eat or drink anything the night before the exam. Do not eat or drink anything 6 hours before the exam if it is scheduled for the afternoon (nothing fatty: light breakfast!).
- Pelvic ultrasound: Drink 500 ml of water one hour before the exam and do not urinate.
- Prostate ultrasound: You must perform a Fleet enema 1.5 hours before the exam.
- Breast ultrasound: Bring the images and reports from the last exam if it was done at another medical establishment.
- Thyroid biopsy: You must stop taking all anticoagulants (blood thinning medication) such as Coumadin or Aspirin in the 7 days preceding the exam, unless otherwise indicated by your physician. In this case, please mention it to the receptionist when you book your appointment.
For abdominal or pelvic ultrasounds, make sure that you do not undergo a gastrointestinal endoscopy (gastroscopy, colonoscopy) in the 12 hours preceding the ultrasound.
You will be met by one of our assistants, who will guide you to the exam table and help you get settled on it, generally lying on your back.
In order to improve contact with the probe, the radiologist will apply a gel to your skin. The probe will then be moved over the region being examined. The radiologist will ask you to roll onto your side, inhale, take deep breaths or even hold your breath. In the case of an extensive study of certain organs (bladder, prostate, ovaries, uterus) the probe will be inserted into natural openings (anus, vagina).
You may leave our building once the exam is completed.
What You May Experience
The ultrasound is a completely painless exam. You might simply feel some pressure when the radiologist presses on the probe for a better view of the area being examined.
A sonogram is not dangerous and, moreover, there are no risks associated with this exam as it is non-invasive.
After the Exam
The results of your exam will be sent to your referring physician, who will take care of any necessary follow-up.