What an ultrasound scan is
An ultrasound scan uses sound waves to make images of the inside of your body.
Preparing for you scan
You may need to follow certain instructions before some types of ultrasound scan to improve the images we take. For example, we may ask you to:
- drink water and do not use the toilet
- don't eat for at least 6 hours before the scan
- change into a hospital gown when you arrive
Difficulty preparing for your scan
You may not be able to prepare for your scan if you cannot hold a full bladder. When drinking water, drink half of the water and come to our department around half an hour before your scan. Then continue drinking water until your scan.
If you are diabetic, you don't need to stop eating in advance of your appointment. You can eat some dried food such as crackers or toast with a little butter. You can also bring biscuits or a banana for after your scan.
Call us on +44 (0) 1534 442844 if you are having any other difficulties preparing for your scan.
The time it takes for you to receive an appointment depends on the reasons that your doctor has given us. The examination should not affect your ability to work or drive but you must check your appointment letter for exceptions to this advice.
How long your scan takes
Your scan will take about 10 to 45 minutes depending on the body part we are examining. Most scans are usually done in around 20 minutes.
Types of ultrasound scans
We perform external scans and sometimes an internal scan.
An Ultrasound scan uses sound waves to make images of the inside of your body. When we do a pelvic scan, it's normally done in 2 parts. The first is called a trans-abdominal scan, where the radiographer puts a probe (a small hand held instrument) on the skin of the examined area.
Internal scans give more detailed information and help with the diagnosis. If we think we need to do this, we will ask for your permission. If you agree, a slim ultrasound probe is gently put into your vagina or rectum. The probe is put in a cover that is thrown away after each use. You may ask for the scan to be stopped at any time.
Gender of your healthcare professional
Tell us if you prefer a male or female member of staff to perform your scan.
We try and accommodate your request but cannot always guarantee it on the day.
Friends and relatives
You can't bring friends and relatives into the scan room during your examination, unless you need help and support.
You can't bring children into the scan room during your examination. We can't supervise your children during your scan.
We complete a written report on your examination. If your GP asked for the scan, we send your results in 5 working days. If a doctor in the hospital asked for your scan, they discuss your results with you when you see them again.