Ultrasound imagery, or sonography, uses soundwaves to create an image of what’s happening inside of your body, and can be used to help diagnose a variety of conditions.
What is an ultrasound?
An ultrasound, or sonogram, produces images of soft tissue and organs in the body through the use of soundwaves to display a real-time image on a computer screen. It can detect abnormal or damaged tissues or growths and identify areas of potential concern. Ultrasounds are also commonly used to detect and monitor fetal development. Obstetric ultrasounds are offered at our Women's Center.
What does an ultrasound help diagnose?
An ultrasound can help diagnose numerous conditions. Your doctor may order this test to diagnose or eliminate possible diagnoses and narrow down your treatment plan.
Most often, ultrasounds are used to:
- Monitor a pregnancy and fetal growth
- Identify gallbladder issues
- Provide a clearer view of a tumor
- Examine a breast lump
- Determine if metabolic bone disease is present
- Examine the thyroid gland
- Evaluate blood flow
- Check for internal injury and/or bleeding
- Assess joint inflammation
What should I expect during my ultrasound?
During your ultrasound, you will lie down and a trained ultrasound technician will apply a gel to the area being examined. This will reduce air pockets that may cause interference with the imaging process. From there, the technician will perform the ultrasound.
In the majority of cases, you may immediately return to your regular activities after the procedure. Once the results of the ultrasound are analyzed, the technician will report back to your doctor and your doctor will discuss the results and next steps with you.
How should I prepare for my ultrasound?
As most ultrasounds are noninvasive procedures, they rarely require any special preparation on your part. Depending on what’s being examined and why, your doctor may request that you fast before the examination or that you arrive with a full bladder, for example. You may also be asked to remove any jewelry prior to the examination. Any other special requests will be discussed with you ahead of time so that you are fully prepared for your procedure.
Why The Iowa Clinic is the right choice for your ultrasound
When you choose The Iowa Clinic for your diagnostic ultrasound, you are choosing an interconnected healthcare approach. Our specialists and primary care providers all operate together within the Iowa Clinic system, which means there is no delay or outside referral necessary when the ultrasound is ordered. In some cases, you may have your ultrasound just down the hall from where you normally receive your examination. This connected approach makes for a smooth care experience and a shortened timeline for diagnosis, too.