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What you should know

  • An ultrasound is safe and painless test using sound waves to look at different parts of your body. An ultrasound is often called an "US." Your internal organs (heart, liver, spleen, gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys, uterus and bladder) can be examined with ultrasound. This test also looks at lymph nodes or blood vessels. Images of the body part or area being tested show up on a TV-like screen.
  • Ultrasound images can show movement of internal organs. Ultrasound can also show blood flow. This is called a Doppler ultrasound. An ultrasound is not an x-ray and does not use radiation. This test usually takes 10 to 30 minutes.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.


There are no know harmful effects with ultrasound, It is a painless, low cost, easy to use test. No radiation is used so even pregnant and their unborn babies are completely safe. Ask your caregiver if you are worried or have questions about your test.

Getting Ready


Wear comfortable clothing for your ultrasound.

Informed Consent:

You have the right to understand your health problem in words you can understand. You should be told what tests, treatments, or procedures may be done to treat your problem. Your doctor should also tell you about the risks and benefits of each treatment. You may be asked to sign a consent form that gives caregivers permission to do certain tests, treatments, or procedures. If you are unable to give your consent, someone who has permission can sign this form for you. A consent form is a legal piece of paper that tells exactly what will be done to you. Before giving your consent, make sure all your questions have been answered so that you understand what may happen.

Preparing for the Ultrasound:

What you have to do to get ready for an ultrasound depends on the type of ultrasound and part of your body being tested. Your caregiver may give you special instructions to not eat food, drink liquids, or use an enema. For example, caregivers may tell you not to eat anything for 8 to 12 hours before the test. Or, you may be told to drink 4-6 glasses of water 2 hours before your test and not to urinate. Talk to your caregiver about any special instructions.


Bring a family member or friend with you if you need to wait for test results. They can help support you during and after the test.

Time of Test:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.


What Will Happen:

  • The ultrasound may be done in your hospital room, in your caregiver's office, or in an exam room. You will be asked to put on a gown and then a caregiver will help you lie on a table or bed.
  • Gel will be put on your skin over or near the area being tested. The gel removes any air that may be between you and the transducer. Gel also helps to send the sound waves into your body. A caregiver will gently move the transducer in many directions over the skin. Try to lie still during the ultrasound. But, you can talk to the caregiver while the ultrasound is being done. The caregiver will remove the gel after the test and you can get dressed.

Waiting Room:

Ask your caregiver if you want a family member to remain with you during the test. Or, your family can wait for you in the waiting room until your ultrasound is done. If your family leaves, ask them to leave a phone number where they can be reached.

Contact a caregiver if

  • You cannot make it to your ultrasound appointment on time.
  • The problems for which you are having the ultrasound get worse.
  • You have questions or concerns about having an ultrasound.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Ultrasound (Precare)

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Micromedex® Care Notes

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