Ultrasound scanning is one of a range of medical imaging technologies used at Peterborough’s Avicenna Clinic to help with diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of conditions affecting the organs and soft tissues.
An ultrasound scan is a form of medical imaging that takes a picture of the inside of the body using sound waves that you are unable to hear. A small hand-held sensor, which is pressed carefully against the skin surface, generates sound waves and detects any echoes reflected off the surfaces and tissue boundaries of internal organs.
Ultrasound is used for a variety of reasons, including to:
- View the uterus and ovaries of a pregnant woman and assess her foetus
- Diagnose gallbladder disease
- Evaluate flow in blood vessels
- Guide a needle for biopsy or tumour treatment
- Evaluate a breast lump
- Check a thyroid gland
- Diagnose some cancers
- Reveal genital and prostate abnormalities
What can I expect?
The ultrasound examination may be performed by a radiologist, sonographer (a radiographer who has had further training) or a nurse. There are no known risks and it is a very swift and easy process.
You will be taken into a room where you will be asked to lie down on a couch. The room may be dimmed so that the pictures on the screen can be seen more clearly.
A gel will be applied to your skin over the area to be scanned. This allows the ultrasound sensor to slide easily over the skin and helps to produce clearer pictures. You may be asked to take deep breaths and to hold your breath for a few moments.
For a scan of the bladder, the bladder may occasionally not be full enough for the examination. You may be asked to drink more fluid and wait while the bladder fills up.
The radiologist/sonographer will slowly move the sensor over your skin while viewing the images on the screen. The ultrasound images can be recorded to share with your GP or other healthcare professionals.
Avicenna Clinic offers a ‘one-stop-shop’ approach to its practice and is the first of its kind in private healthcare in Peterborough. Patients can usually have immediate access to their results and a consequent treatment plan will then be put into place if required.
For more information on what to expect during your ultrasound scan, click here.
Do I need to make any special preparations?
If your pelvis, kidney or bladder are to be scanned, you may need to ensure your bladder is full before the examination can begin.
For some examinations such as of the gall bladder and pancreas, you may need to fast for up to six hours.
However, all of this information will be confirmed when you book your appointment.
If you are diabetic, please let us know in advance of your scan so that we can arrange a suitable appointment time. You should also tell us in advance if you have had a similar ultrasound scan recently.
Can I bring a relative/friend?
We like our patients to feel as comfortable as relaxed as they can, so we do allow you to be accompanied. It may not be suitable however for a friend to remain in the scanning room if you undergo an intimate examination.
If you have learning difficulties, please bring a friend or relative with you.
Will it be uncomfortable?
The ultrasound scan itself does not produce discomfort. Apart from the sensor on your skin, you will not feel anything.
Occasionally it may be necessary to apply some pressure to the skin surface, which may feel slightly uncomfortable if you have had to keep a full bladder for the examination.
Some gynaecology & obstetric scans may be done by passing a small probe into the vagina, again this should not be painful, but it may feel a little cold or uncomfortable.
How long will it take?
The process of carrying out a scan usually takes about 10–20 minutes. Obstetric scans can take up to 30 minutes, depending on what investigations are being done.
Are there any risks?
No, there are no known risks and it is considered to be very safe.
Can you eat and drink afterwards?
Yes, if you have no further tests scheduled for the same day. Please check you’re your consultant first.
When will I get my results?
The scan will be examined after your visit and a written report on the findings sent to your referring doctor which is normally available in 3-5 days. In obstetrics, you will usually be given your results immediately.
Dr Hany Elmadbouh
Dr Hany Elmadbouh specialises in musculoskeletal radiology and offers a comprehensive musculo-skeletal diagnostic and intervention service. He has a special interest in spine imaging and intervention. Hany has extensive experience as a consultant radiologist and became a full-time private radiologist in 2013. He is founder and lead consultant of Avicenna Clinic. More>>