Test Preparations: Ultrasound

About ultrasounds

An ultrasound is a test that involves high frequency sound waves to produce real-time images. This test is commonly associated with pregnant women but can also be used to examine organs, tissue and blood vessels.

Before the test

There are different types of ultrasound tests; some will require no preparation, some will require you to drink large amounts of water prior to the test, whereas others will require you to not eat or drink for hours before the test.

Ultrasound Preparations:

Abdomen, Abdominal Aorta, Renal Arteries

Avoid excess fats the night prior to the exam and solid foods 8 hours before the exam. Small quantities of clear fluids are permitted. Any medication should be taken as required.

Pelvic Only - Female & Male

One hour prior to exam, drink 4 cups of water (total 32 oz). Do NOT empty bladder.

Prostate-Transrectal

The evening before the examination, take a fleet enema (purchased at the drug store). One hour prior to exam, drink 4 cups of water (total 32 oz). Do NOT empty bladder.

Abdomen & Pelvic - Same Visit

Avoid solid foods and excess fats 8 hours before the exam. Small quantities of clear fluids are permitted. One hour prior to the exam drink 4 cups of water (total 32 oz). Do NOT empty bladder.

Pregnancy

One hour prior to the exam, drink the required amount of water: 

  • Under 12 weeks  4 cups (32 oz) 
  • 12-24 weeks: 3 cups (24 oz) 
  • Over 24 weeks: 2 cups (16 oz)

Adult Echocardiogram, Scrotum, Thyroid & Neck, Parathyroid, Salivary Glands, Neonatal Hips, Musculo-Skeletal, Cardiac Testing, Vascular Ultrasound (Head, Neck & Extremities)
No preparation required.

During the test

An ultrasound may require you to remove some or all of your clothing and put on a paper gown. The technician will place gel onto the area being examined. During the test, the technician will use a device called a transducer and make contact with your skin, sweeping back and forth over the area being examined.

For pelvic or obstetrical ultrasound examinations, to better look at the gynecologic organs, a special transducer and probe may be inserted into the vaginal cavity with a latex-free sterile probe cover and sterile gel. For direct prostate ultrasound examinations, a similar probe and transducer is used with a latex-free sterile probe cover and sterile gel and then inserted into the rectum.

After the test

Once the test is completed, you are able to return to your normal activities.

Your requisition form

To avoid delays on the day of your test, ensure that you bring your health card and your requisition. Also, confirm that your doctor included the following on your requisition form:

  • Patient full name, sex, date of birth
  • Physician name and signature

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