What Is an Ultrasound?

During an ultrasound by Bethesda MD, harmless sound waves that cannot be heard by the human ear are transmitted through your body. The sound waves bounce back to the ultrasound equipment, and a computer uses those sound waves to create an image of the inside of your body. Ultrasound examinations do not use radiation, such as that used in x-rays, therefore making it a safe way to produce internal images especially for pregnant women.

What Are Ultrasounds Used For?

Perhaps the most common use of an ultrasound is to assess the progression of a pregnancy. Most women receive at least two ultrasounds during gestation. It is also used to:

  • Evaluate the function of the heart and blood vessels
  • Detect gallstones and kidney stones
  • Detect tumors, cysts, and other growths

How to Prepare for an Ultrasound

The most important thing to remember when preparing for an ultrasound by Bethesda MD is to follow your doctor’s instructions. Some ultrasound exams do not require any special preparation, but others may require that you refrain for eating and drinking for six hours before the exam. Still others may require that you drink water one hour before the exam and refrain from urinating, as some exams need you to have a full bladder in order to get a good picture.

What to Expect During an Ultrasound

During an ultrasound by Bethesda MD, the technologist will give you instructions, and you will have the opportunity to ask any questions you have. You may need to change into a gown and lie on an exam table. Gel will be applied to your skin so that the sound waves transmit better. A hand-held instrument is then placed against the gel and moved across the area that is being examined.