Ultrasound

clock97 Typical Length of Exam:
Approximately 15-60 minutes depending exam type
tshirt17 Dress Requirements:
Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
Do not wear jewellery.
Refrain from wearing perfumes and colognes.
Examination gowns are provided as necessary.
drugs5 Medication and Dietary Requirements:
Please see Exam-Specific Instructions below.
ATTENTION DIABETIC PATIENTS: If your examination requires you not to eat and your appointment is after 9:30am, please call 403-328-1122 and request an earlier appointment.
google-map-icon-map-7 Click here if your ultrasound is scheduled at the U3T MRI Centre (pdf)
ultra4What is ultrasound?
Ultrasound scanning is also known as sonography. Ultrasound exams are a safe and painless way to see the organs and tissue inside the human body by using very high frequency sound waves. The sound waves enter the body and bounce back at different rates depending on how they are absorbed by the body. When the sound waves bounce back, they are captured by the ultrasound machine and turned into a picture.

What are the main uses for ultrasound?
There are many uses for ultrasound. Some common ones are to assess the liver, spleen, gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys or bladder. Ultrasound is also a very good and very safe way to look at babies that are developing inside the uterus. It is routinely used to assess the breasts, thyroid, scrotum, neck, shoulder, elbow, wrist, knee, and ankle, and is used to look at arteries and veins throughout the body. Ultrasound is also used to look at the heart. Please see the echocardiography section for more information about ultrasound of the heart.

What to expect:
When you arrive for your test, you will be asked to remove all clothing and jewellery from the area being scanned. You will be given a hospital gown if needed and will be asked to sit or lie down on an examination table. A small amount of gel will be applied to the skin over the area to be scanned to help the sound waves move into your body. The ultrasound technologist will slide the small ultrasound instrument back and forth through this gel. The ultrasound instrument, also called a transducer, will transmit ultrasound waves into your body and receive their reflected echoes. This is a painless procedure; you will only feel the transducer against your skin. As the scan continues, you may be asked to hold your breath or change position to give the best image possible. The technologist will then show the images to the radiologist to review. Once the review is complete, the radiologist will send a report to, and may call, the doctor who ordered your test.

Exam-Specific Instructions:

Abdomen Ultrasound Only

  • Approximately 45 minutes
  • Do not eat or drink after midnight the night before your exam.
  • No chewing gum is permitted (gum generates saliva with small particles of air that, when swallowed, make organs harder to see).
  • Brushing teeth is permissible.
  • For infants, withhold last feeding prior to appointment time.
  • Medication can be taken at its usual time with a small amount of water.
  • Only patients will be allowed in the exam room unless caregivers are needed.

Abdomen and Pelvis Ultrasound

  • Approximately 60 minutes
  • Do not eat or drink after midnight the night before your exam. 90 minutes before your appointment, empty your bladder and then finish drinking four 8 oz. glasses of water (1 litre total).
  • DO NOT VOID within 90 minutes of your appointment.
  • DO NOT SUBSTITUTE WITH ANY OTHER LIQUID.
  • Children (12 and under) are only required to drink 2 glasses of water, 8 oz. each (500 mL total).
  • Only patients will be allowed in the exam room unless caregivers are needed.

Pelvis Ultrasound Only 

  • Approximately 30 minutes
  • 90 minutes before your appointment, empty your bladder, then finish drinking four 8 oz. glasses of water (1 litre total).
  • DO NOT VOID within 90 minutes of your appointment.
  • DO NOT SUBSTITUTE WITH ANY OTHER LIQUID.
  • Children (12 and under) are only required to drink 2 glasses of water, 8 oz. each (500 mL total).
  • Only patients will be allowed in the exam room unless caregivers are needed.

Obstetrical Ultrasound (Pregnancy)

  • Approximately 45 minutes
  • 90 minutes prior to your appointment, empty your bladder, then drink water as specified below. The amount of water you need to drink depends on how far along you are in your pregnancy:
    - Up to 25 weeks - 3 glasses of water, 8 oz. each (750 mL total)
    - Over 25 weeks - 1 glass of water, 8 oz. (250 mL total)
  • DO NOT VOID within 90 minutes of your appointment.
  • DO NOT SUBSTITUTE WITH ANY OTHER LIQUID.
  • Fathers without children present are welcome to view the obstetrical ultrasound while it is performed. Fathers with children present will be asked to remain in the waiting room until the end of the exam when they will be brought in to view the baby.
  • USB sticks with ultrasound images of your baby are available for purchase following your exam.

Other Ultrasounds - No special preparation required.

Can I bring my children?: Unfortunately we cannot provide child care. Please make other arrangements for your child or have another adult present who can wait with your child in the waiting room. Fathers without children present are welcome to view an obstetrical ultrasound while it is performed. Fathers with children present will be asked to remain in the waiting room until the end of the exam before they will be brought in to view the baby.