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Common concerns and questions you may have about your scan

What is an ultrasound scan?

An ultrasound scan is an examination using high frequency sound waves. The echoes form a picture on the screen of the inside of the body.

Is an ultrasound scan dangerous?

There are no known risks with an ultrasound scan used for diagnostic purposes. Radiation, as in X-rays, is not involved.

Who will carry out the scan?

The person who will perform the scan is a qualified sonographer.

What happens before my scan?

When you have agreed a date for your scan you may be asked to follow some dietary Instructions prior to the examination, such as fasting for 6 hours for an upper abdominal scan or filling your bladder for pelvic examinations. This will ensure we obtain the best possible images during your test. Failure to follow the preparation instructions may result in the examination being delayed or postponed to another day.

What happens when I attend the scan?

When you arrive, you will be greeted by the sonographer who may ask some questions about your referral and symptoms to tailor the examination to your individual needs. You will be asked to lie or sit on the couch with the area of interest exposed. You do not need to change clothes but may be asked to move them aside for access.
A special gel is applied to transmit the soundwaves and a handheld probe is then used by the sonographer to guide the ultrasound.
If you prefer a chaperone for intimate examinations this will be offered at the time of the scan.

Will it hurt?

The examination is not painful, however the probe may feel uncomfortable in tender areas as some pressure is occasionally required.

How long will it take?

If you have followed the correct preparation the examination will last approximately 10 to 20 minutes depending on the area under investigation.

Are there any after effects?

There are no after effects. You may eat and drink as normal. The ultrasound gel does not stain clothes.

What happens if I am on medication?

Please continue to use any medication prescribed with a sip of water if necessary.
If you are diabetic and have been asked to fast for your scan, please ring 01472 245075 for advice as an early appointment may be more appropriate. Food and your insulin medication can be brought to the department to be taken immediately after the examination.

If you have been informed to drink water and are on a daily restricted fluid regime please call 01472 245075 to discuss this with the clinic.

What if I am pregnant?

There are no known risks to the baby from ultrasound scans used in a diagnostic setting.

When will I get the results?

The results of your scan are forwarded to the GP, usually on the same day as the scan for your GP to view.

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