Before the ultrasound test

The preparation for this test will depend on the type of ultrasound procedure your doctor has ordered. Some preparations include drinking a quart of water before the test to obtain better images. Other preparations may include eating a fat-free dinner the night before the test, or possibly fasting.

The physician, nurse or receptionist will give you complete instructions prior to the exam.

On the day of the test

  • Please do not bring valuables such as jewelry and credit cards.
  • Your ultrasound test is performed by a certified, specially trained technologist and results are interpreted by a board-certified radiologist.
  • You may be asked to change into a hospital gown.

During the test

  • You will be asked to lie on a comfortable table, either on your side or on your back.
  • A small amount of water-soluble gel is applied to the skin over the area to be examined. The gel does not harm your skin or stain your clothes.
  • A hand-held instrument, called a transducer, is placed against the gel on your body. The transducer will be moved back and forth across the area being examined.
  • The technologist will instruct you when, if necessary, to hold your breath to prevent motion on the images.
  • The technologist does not interpret the images, but rather, takes the images for the radiologist to review for diagnosis.
  • A radiologist may also review the images on the screen during the examination with the technologist.
  • After the procedure is complete, the technologist will wipe off any remaining gel used during the procedure.
  • The ultrasound test usually takes from 30 to 60 minutes to complete.

After the test

The images will be reviewed by a radiologist. A written report of the radiologist's findings will be forwarded to your referring physician, either by fax or mail. Your physician will discuss the test results with you.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/19/2014.


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