An ultrasound scan uses sound waves to create images of organs and structures inside your body. It is a very commonly used and painless test. It is thought to be very safe because it uses sound waves and not radiation. 

What is an ultrasound scan?

An ultrasound scan is a procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to create a live, moving image of part of the inside of the body. This image of internal organs, tissue and vessels is displayed on a monitor while the scan is performed.

A camera-like device called an ultrasound probe is used, which gives off high-frequency sound waves.

An ultrasound scan has many uses, including monitoring an unborn baby, diagnosing a condition or guiding a surgeon during certain procedures.

Prepare for your ultrasound

There are different preparations for ultrasound scans, depending on the type of scan you are having. These preparations for patients can include instructions like fasting for a certain amount of time or drinking water. If any preparation is needed for your ultrasound, we will let you know in your appointment letter.

Please inform us at the time of appointment booking if you are diabetic or on regular medication.

We do recommend that you wear comfortable clothing that you can easily change out of if necessary. We also advise that you wear a minimal amount of jewellery as you may need to take it off.

What happens during an ultrasound?

You will be asked to lie on an ultrasound examination couch. The radiographer/sonographer will apply some gel to the area of your body which is being examined. They will then place the small probe onto your skin and moved it over the part of the body being examined. 

You must lie still while the scan is being done to avoid blurring the images. You may also be asked to hold your breath for a moment during the scan.

An ultrasound scan usually takes 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the area of the body being examined. 

What happens after an ultrasound?

In most cases, you will be able to leave the Radiology Department immediately after your ultrasound and return to normal activities. We will advise you in advance if you need to have someone to collect you after your ultrasound.

Your images will be studied by a radiologist (a doctor who uses X-rays to diagnose and treat illnesses) and the results will be sent to the doctor who referred you for the ultrasound.

Getting results

Results will be sent to your referring doctor. 

  • GP results will be sent out within five to seven working days. You may need to contact your GP to discuss your results.
  • If you are an outpatients, you will receive results at your next outpatient appointment.
  • If you are a hospital inpatient, the results of your scan will be available to the doctors looking after you on the ward.


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