What is ultrasound?
An ultrasound scan is a painless examination, which uses sound waves to make images of the inside of your body.
Is Ultrasound Safe?
Yes, Ultrasound is harmless (Ref 1) No radiation (X-rays) are used.
Is there any preparation?
It depends on which part of your body is to be examined. Your appointment letter will tell you the preparation required.
What if l have diabetes?
Take your medication as normal, but avoid eating foods that contain fat (e.g. butter or milk).
It may be best for you to have an early morning appointment.
Please contact the Ultrasound Department, Monday –Friday, 8.00am -8.00 pm on 0191 4452491, if you have been sent an appointment time for later than 10-00am.
If your diabetes is controlled by diet alone, please follow the instructions enclosed.
Can l take my medication?
Take all medication as normal.
What about work?
The ultrasound scan has no side effects, and you will be able to return to work immediately. You will be fit to drive following your scan.
Who will do my ultrasound scan?
Your scan will be performed by either a Consultant Radiologist or an ultra-sonographer. Whilst ultra-sonographers are specialists in ultrasound, they are not doctors. If you are scanned by an ultra-sonographer, sometimes they may want a second opinion by the Consultant Radiologist, but this does not indicate that anything is necessarily wrong.
How will my ultrasound scan be performed?
You will be asked to lie on a couch and uncover the area of your body that is to be examined. Some gel will be spread on your skin. The gel is needed for the scan as it allows the ultrasound probe to move smoothly over your skin. The gel may wet your clothes, but it will not stain them. You may prefer to wear loose clothing, or you can ask the ultra-sonographer for a hospital gown. The lights in the examination room will be dimmed and the ultra-sonographer will move the ultrasound probe over the area being examined whilst looking at pictures on a television screen. You may be asked to hold your breath to get a good picture. The ultra-sonographer will be concentrating on the scan and so may not be able to talk to you at this time. At the end of the scan the gel will be cleaned from your skin.
How long will my ultrasound scan last?
Your scan may last up to 30 minutes.
When do l get my scan results?
If your scan was requested by your GP, please make an appointment to see your doctor in 7-10 working days following your scan. If your scan was requested by a hospital consultant, they will either send you a letter informing you of the scan results or send you a follow-up clinic appointment. If you haven’t received your results within 6weeks, please ring you referring clinician’s secretary.
Who can accompany me?
Due to limited seating in our waiting area, we request that you have only one person accompany you.
Do you need an ambulance?
If you need an ambulance to bring you to hospital please contact your GP at least two days prior to your appointment, to arrange. If you need to book an ambulance, please ring us on this number in order that we can adjust your appointment time – 0191 445 2491. This will ensure that you spend as little time as possible waiting in the department.
For advice please contact:
Monday – Friday
You will be able to speak to a receptionist or an ultra-sonographer.
All patient leaflets are regularly reviewed and any suggestions you have as to how this leaflet may be improved are extremely valuable.
Please write to:
The Ultrasound Department
Queen Elizabeth Hospital
Queen Elizabeth Avenue
1, Hazel C. Starritt and Francis A. Duck. (2011) in Allan PL, Baxter GM, Weston MJ (editors); “ Safety “ in Clinical Ultrasound, third edition. Churchill Livingston Elsevier , pages 51 – 60.
Any personal information is kept confidential. There may be occasions where your information needs to be shared with other care professionals to ensure you receive the best care possible.
In order to assist us to improve the services available, your information may be used for clinical audit, research, teaching and anonymised for National NHS Reviews and Statistics.
This leaflet can be made available in other languages and formats upon request.