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Understanding Ultrasound

What is Ultrasound?

Ultrasound uses a transducer that produces high frequency sound waves to visualize the internal organs. A transducer is a small, hand-held device that uses sound waves to create images over a part of the body. The transducer sends a signal to a computer which converts the sound waves into an ultrasound image.

An ultrasound examination uses no radiation and is generally painless. There are no known dangers or side effects associated with the use of ultrasound. Sound waves are used to image and delineate structures. They also detect tumors (cystic vs. solid), lesions, gallstones and kidney stones and can be used to evaluate blood flow in major arteries.


Preparing for your Ultrasound

Preparation instructions for an ultrasounds vary depending on the type of ultrasound you will be having: 

Nothing to eat or drink 8 hours before the exam. This exam takes 30-45 minutes.

Nothing to eat or drink 8 hours before the exam. This exam takes 15-30 minutes.

Gallbladder, Pancreas & Liver
Nothing to eat or drink 8 hours before the exam. This exam takes 20-40 minutes.

Normal diet. Drink plenty of water or non-alcoholic liquid. The exam takes 15-30 minutes.

Transabdominal Pelvis

A full bladder is necessary. One hour before the scheduled exam, drink 32 ounces of water; avoid beverages containing caffeine. Do NOT empty your bladder. This exam must be done with a full bladder. The exam is performed with an external ultrasound transducer placed on the lower portion of the pelvic area. The exam takes approximately 30 minutes.

Transvaginal Pelvis

This exam is done with an empty bladder. You will lie on a table with feet positioned in stirrups similar to a pelvic exam. The ultrasound transducer used is called an endovaginal transducer, which is slightly larger than a tampon. This transducer will be inserted into the vaginal canal with very little, if any, discomfort. The exam takes approximately 30 minutes.


Arrive on time

Please arrive approximately 30 minutes prior to your scheduled exam time. If you must cancel or reschedule, please contact our scheduling department at 859-260-6547 at least 24 hours before your appointment.


What to expect after your Ultrasound

The ultrasound images will be reviewed and interpreted by a radiologist (a physician specializing in radiology), and a written report will be sent to the physician who ordered the exam.Your doctor will contact you about the results of your ultrasound.



The American College of Radiology awards accreditation to facilities for the achievement of high practice standards in image quality, personnel qualifications, adequacy of facility equipment, quality control procedures, quality assurance programs and safety guidelines.

Providing you with the finest care and service possible is our goal. We encourage your comments on the care you receive as a patient. Should you have a suggestion, comment or question while you are here, please let us know or you may call 859-260-6168 to speak with a patient representative. Thank you for letting us serve you.