Ultrasound

This information will help you prepare for your ultrasound at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK). An ultrasound is also known as a sonogram.

An ultrasound uses sound waves to create pictures of your internal organs. It is used to check blood flow and to see if a mass is solid or filled with fluid. There is no radiation with an ultrasound, you typically will not need any injections, and there are no known harmful side effects.

During your ultrasound, you will lie on a bed or stretcher. Your ultrasound technologist will apply a gel to the area being examined, and then move a small device over the surface of your skin. Your ultrasound technologist cannot tell you the results during your scan. When your ultrasound is finished, a radiologist will review your ultrasound and send your doctor a written report within 24 hours. Ask your doctor how and when you will be notified of the results.

Types of Ultrasounds

There are different ways to prepare for your ultrasound depending on where on your body it’s being done. Please review the information below for the type of ultrasound you’re having.

Abdominal ultrasound

  • Do not eat or drink for 6 hours before the test. Having an empty stomach makes it easier to see your gallbladder and internal organs.
  • Take your medications with a sip of water.
  • If you take medication for diabetes, including insulin, ask the doctor who prescribes it for you what to do.

Pelvic ultrasound

  • Drink 4 to 6 (8 ounce) cups of water 1 hour before your ultrasound. Having a full bladder will make it easier to see your uterus and ovaries.
  • Do not urinate before your ultrasound.
  • If close-up views of your uterine lining and ovaries are needed, you may have a transvaginal ultrasound after your pelvic ultrasound.

Transvaginal ultrasound

  • You do not need to do anything to prepare.
  • You will lie down with your legs raised, like you do during a Pap smear or pelvic exam. Your ultrasound technologist will insert the ultrasound probe, which is shaped like a wand, into your vagina.
  • A transvaginal ultrasound may be used to see the lining of your uterus and your ovaries.

Combined abdominal and pelvic ultrasound

  • Do not eat solid food for 6 hours before your ultrasound.
  • One hour before your appointment, drink 4 to 6 (8 ounce) cups of water.
  • Do not urinate before your ultrasound.

Renal ultrasound

  • You do not need to do anything to prepare.

Urinary bladder ultrasound

  • Drink 4 (8 ounce) cups of water.
  • Do not urinate before your ultrasound.

Venous ultrasound (Doppler)

  • You do not need to do anything to prepare.
  • This test is used to diagnose blood clots in your legs or arms.

Breast ultrasound

  • You do not need to do anything to prepare.

 

Scrotal ultrasound

  • You do not need to do anything to prepare.

Carotid artery ultrasound

  • You do not need to do anything to prepare.
  • This test is used to evaluate blood vessels in your neck, which supply blood to your head.

Thyroid ultrasound

  • You do not need to do anything to prepare.

Ultrasound-guided thyroid biopsy or lymph node biopsy

  • You do not need to do anything to prepare.
  • The ultrasound is used to guide the placement of a thin needle into yourthyroid gland or lymph node. Cells are removed and sent to the laboratory to find out whether any cancerous or other abnormal cells are present.
  • This test may be done safely even if you are taking aspirin or other medications to thin your blood. However, if a large needle will be used for the biopsy, the radiologist performing your procedure will contact you with instructions.

Hysterosonogram

  • You do not need to do anything to prepare.
  • If you still get your period (premenopausal):
    • You should have the test the first 8 to 12 days after you start your period (menstrual cycle), preferably right after you stop bleeding.
    • Do not have unprotected vaginal sex during the first 12 days of your menstrual cycle.
    • If you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant, this test cannot be performed.
    • If you have an intrauterine device (IUD), this test cannot be performed.
  • This test is done to evaluate the lining of your uterus and to look for polyps (growths of tissue).
  • Sterile saline is put into your uterus through a small, soft catheter (thin, flexible tube) in your vagina.
  • You will be given instructions to follow after your procedure. For several days, you will need to avoid sexual activity, swimming, and taking baths.
If you have any questions or concerns, talk with a member of your healthcare team. You can reach them Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at ____________________. After 5:00 pm, during the weekend, and on holidays, please call____________________. If there’s no number listed, or you’re not sure, call 212-639-2000.
Ultrasound
©2015 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center - Generated on August 30, 2015