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Common Questions About Ultrasound Imaging

Patients who have never had an ultrasound in San Antonio might have some questions about what they can expect. Your best sources of information are your doctor and radiology provider. You should feel free to voice your concerns or ask any questions you may have about the ultrasound exam when you arrive at the imaging center. ultrasound - imaging

Does ultrasound technology emit radiation?

Several medical imaging tests use ionizing radiation in the form of X-rays, but ultrasound is not one of them. Instead, the equipment uses high-frequency sound waves to produce detailed, real-time images.

I’m claustrophobic. Will I have problems getting an ultrasound?

No, an ultrasound doesn’t require you to lie on an exam table that is inserted into the scanner. Instead, you’ll be positioned comfortably on the padded table and the radiologist or sonographer will apply a water-based gel to the skin over the area that is to be examined. A hand-held device, known as a transducer, is positioned on the skin and moved around until the desired images are obtained.

Is prenatal testing the only use for ultrasound?

Ultrasound imaging plays an important role in prenatal care, since it allows providers to check on the development of the baby. An ultrasound can also be used to determine whether the baby is male or female. However, there are many other uses for ultrasound imaging. Ultrasound can be used to look for signs of breast cancer and to guide breast biopsies. It’s useful for evaluating heart conditions, including heart valve problems, congestive heart failure, and post-heart attack damage. Ultrasound images even allow for the detection of blood clots and blood vessel narrowing.

How should I prepare for my appointment?

For all medical imaging appointments, it’s a good idea to wear comfortable clothing and leave jewelry at home. Some patients may be asked to avoid eating and drinking for a period of time prior to the exam. Other patients may need to have a full bladder for the test, which requires them to drink lots of water and avoid urinating.

Is an ultrasound exam painful?

Ultrasound exams are painless. Most patients experience no discomfort at all, although you may be slightly uncomfortable if you need to have a full bladder for the test. Minimal discomfort may occur if the transducer must be inserted into an opening in the body.