Ultrasound Frequently Asked Questions


Your physician’s office will make the appointment for you through Central Booking at WGH and will give you an Outpatient requisition that documents the exam requested, clinical information and any preparations required for the exam. You must bring this requisition and your Health card to your appointment. The exam will not be performed if there is no requisition for the exam. The radiologist will interpret the exam and the results will be sent to your physician within 3-5 working days. The ultrasonographers will not inform you of any results.

Abdominal Ultrasound:

Question: What preparation is required for the exam?

Answer. Nothing to eat or drink after midnight. Can take meds with a small amount of water.

Question: What will the ultrasonographers scan?

Answer. Liver, kidneys, spleen, pancreas, gallbladder, aorta 

Question: How does this exam differ from an x-ray of the abdomen?

Answer. It uses sound waves not radiation to acquire the images. 

Question: Will the ultrasonographer inform me of the results?

Answer. No, your doctor will receive the report and will discuss the results with you.

Pelvic Ultrasound:

Question: What preparation is required for the exam?

Answer.  Finish 1 litre of water 1 hour prior to exam time

Question: What is the purpose of filling the bladder?

Answer. It is used as a "window" to visualize the pelvic organs. 

Question: What types of pelvic ultrasounds are there?

Answer. Full bladder – trans-abdominal scan 

             Empty bladder – vaginal scan

Question: Will the ultrasonographer inform me of the results?

Answer. No, your doctor will receive the report and will discuss the results with you. 

Obstetrical Ultrasound:

Question: What preparation is required for the exam?

Answer. Finish 1 litre of water 1 hour prior to exam time

Question: What is the purpose of filling the bladder?

Answer. It is used as a "window" to visualize the baby

Question: Is ultrasound in any way harmful to the pregnancy?

Answer.There are no known bioeffects on a fetus to date.

Question: Will the ultrasonographer tell me the sex of the baby?

Answer. No, however if it is requested, it will be documented if clearly seen and the information will be reported by the radiologist and forwarded to your physician. 

Question: Can my family watch the exam?

Answer. After the entire exam is completed and images are acquired, your family can come in to view some images if time allows. 

Question: Can I get a souvenir picture of the baby?

Answer. Yes, if time allows.

Question: Will the ultrasonographer inform me of the results?

Answer. No, your doctor will receive the report and will discuss the results with you 

Vascular or Carotid Doppler Ultrasound:

Question: What preparation is required for the exam?

Answer. No preparation required

Question: Why does the ultrasound unit make funny noises during the exam?

Answer. Doppler is used to evaluate flow in blood vessels and happens to be in the audible range of humans.

Question: Does the exam take the place of an angiogram?

Answer. No

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