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.
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.