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Ultrasound (or sonography) is a diagnostic medical procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of organs, tissues, and blood vessels. This technology is often used to examine the abdomen, breasts, female reproductive system, prostate, testes, blood vessels, fetus, and soft tissue masses.

Increasingly, Ultrasound is used to detect vascular diseases that can lead to stroke. This is a very safe and non-invasive procedure which involves no radiation.

Depending on the specific kind of Ultrasound scan you are having, the following preparation instructions MAY be given to you at time of scheduling. Please consult your physician to advise.

Why Is An Ultrasound Performed?

Most people associate ultrasound scans with pregnancy. These scans can give an expectant mother the first view of her unborn child. However, the test has many other uses. For example, your doctor may order an ultrasound if you have pain, swelling, or other symptoms requiring an internal view of your organs.

An ultrasound can be performed to see the following areas of the body:
  • Gallbladder, liver, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, and bladder.
  • Thyroid, testicles, and most of the major vessels in our circulatory system.
  • Uterus and ovaries, as well as pregnancy, can also be done.
  • Breast ultrasounds can be performed along with mammograms if indicated.

Ultrasound Technician working at ultrasound machine

How To Prepare For An Ultrasound?

To prepare for an ultrasound, the necessary steps will vary depending on the specific area or organ being examined. Your doctor may advise you to fast for a period of 8 to 12 hours before the ultrasound, particularly if your abdomen is the focus of the examination. This is because undigested food can interfere with the sound waves, potentially hindering the technologist's ability to obtain a clear image. In other cases, you may be instructed to drink a significant amount of water and refrain from emptying your bladder, as this can enhance visualization of the bladder during the procedure.

Prior to the ultrasound, it is crucial to inform your doctor about any prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, or herbal supplements you are currently taking. Following the preparation instructions provided by Maui Diagnostic Imaging(MDI) team members is important, and it is encouraged to address any questions or concerns you may have before the procedure. It is worth noting that ultrasounds carry minimal risks, as they do not involve the use of radiation like X-rays or CT scans.