St Elizabeth’s Medical Center ultrasound is staffed by professional sonographers and attending radiologists who have specialized training and expertise in performing and interpreting a wide variety of ultrasound exams. Our section is accredited by the American College of Radiology and adheres to all practice guidelines of the ACR as well as all state and federal regulations.Our goal is to perform your ultrasound study comfortably and professionally and make the results available to your provider as soon as possible.

Ultrasound exams are performed in the Radiology Department on CMP4. Appointment times are available seven days/week, and early morning and late day appointments are available.

What is Ultrasound?

Ultrasound is an imaging technology that uses high frequency sound waves to build images of structures within your body. The technology, based on sonar, has been in use since the 1940s. Its many uses for medical imaging have grown exponentially since the 1970s. Ultrasound is a non invasive, safe and inexpensive way to provide diagnostic imaging for a variety of conditions. There are no discernible side effects to the sound frequencies used during diagnostic ultrasound given the amount of time spent on an average ultrasound study.


What organs can be evaluated by Ultrasound?

An ultrasound exam is indicated for many conditions involving the abdominal organs, including the liver, gallbladder, kidneys, spleen, and pancreas. Pelvic  ultrasound exams can be used to evaluate the uterus, ovaries, bladder and prostate. Pregnant patients often have ultrasound exams to evaluate fetal wellbeing. Ultrasound is also commonly used to image the thyroid, breast, tendons, and other soft tissue structures.

Some anatomy is not well seen by ultrasound such as structures that contain air (lung and bowel) and structures that are too dense, such as bone. Evaluation of these structures is best accomplished by radiography, CT or MRI. Ultrasound is limited in evaluating for abdominal abscesses and is seldom used in the chest, except in the case of extrapulmonary (usually pleural) fluid collections.


What happens during an Ultrasound exam?

The exam is a series of digital images captured by a staff sonographer using an ultrasound machine and a device called a transducer which is placed on the body in different locations to visualize anatomy. Gel is applied to the transducer to optimize transmission of the ultrasound beam through the skin and to ease movement of the transducer on the skin.

At the beginning of the exam, the sonographer will ask the patient questions to help define the clinical problem. Towards the end of the exam, a radiologist may enter to interview the patient or observe the scan in progress. The average ultrasound study takes between 30 min and an hour depending on the questions raised.

When the exam is complete, the images are reviewed by an attending radiologist and the results are made available to your ordering provider, typically on the same day. Urgent findings are called directly to the provider’s office to ensure rapid response to time sensitive clinical issues.


Radiologyinfo.org for Patients

The radiology information resource for patients. RadiologyInfo.org tells you how various X-ray, CT, MRI, ultrasound, radiation therapy and other procedures are performed. It also addresses what you may experience and how to prepare for the exams. The website contains over 200 procedure, exam and disease descriptions covering diagnostic and interventional radiology, nuclear medicine, radiation therapy and radiation safety and is updated frequently with new information. All material on the RadiologyInfo.org website is reviewed and approved by experts in the field of radiology from the ACR and RSNA, as well as other professional radiology organizations.

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