Some types of ultrasound tests need to be done with a probe that is inserted into your body. Talk to your provider about how your test will be done.
Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to make images of organs and structures inside the body.
An ultrasound machine makes images so that organs inside the body can be examined. The machine sends out high-frequency sound waves, which reflect off body structures. A computer receives the waves and uses them to create a picture. Unlike with an x-ray or CT scan, this test does not use ionizing radiation.
The test is done in the ultrasound or radiology department.
Most of the time, ultrasound procedures do not cause discomfort. The conducting gel may feel a little cold and wet.
Your preparation will depend on the part of the body being examined.
Results are considered normal if the organs and structures being examined look OK.
There are no known risks. The test does not use ionizing radiation.
The meaning of abnormal results will depend on the part of the body being examined and the problem found. Talk to your health care provider about your questions and concerns.
The reason for the test will depend on your symptoms. An ultrasound test may be used to identify problems involving:
Butts C. Ultrasound. In: Roberts JR, ed. Roberts and Hedges' Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 66.
Cosgrove DO, Eckersley RJ, Harvey CJ, Lim A. Ultrasound. In: Adam A, Dixon AK, Gillard JH, Schaefer-Prokop CM, eds. Grainger & Allison's Diagnostic Radiology: A Textbook of Medical Imaging. 6th ed. New York, NY: Elsevier; 2015:chap 3.
Review Date: 7/3/2016
Reviewed By: Jason Levy, MD, Northside Radiology Associates, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 9-1-1 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only—they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997-2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.