Using high frequency sound waves, live images of the organs in the body are captured. The process is termed as Sonography or Ultrasound scan. It helps the doctors to detect problems in the vessels, tissues and organs. The process is non-invasive. Ultrasound does not use radiation and is absolutely safe. It is considered to be the safe method for viewing the growth of the foetus during pregnancy. The provide the best view of the brain, eyes, bladder, gall bladder, liver, kidney, spleen, pancreas, uterus, ovaries, thyroid and blood vessels. It guides surgeons during medical procedures like biopsies.
The preparation for the ultrasound test will depend on the organ that is to be examined. The patient is required to fast for 8 to 12 hours before the scan is taken, particularly if it is an abdomen scan. Undigested food often comes in the way of the sound waves compromising the clarity of the images.
If the scan is for gallbladder, spleen, liver or pancreas, the patient is asked to take meal free of fat the night before and start to fast till the procedure is complete. Patients can take water and medication as told. For some examinations, the patient is asked to drink plenty of water for a full bladder to get better images.
Inform the doctor about the medication and dosage details, irrespective of whether it is prescription drugs or over the counter drugs or herbal supplements. Follow the instructions given by the doctor and the scan center to avoid any inconvenience. Clarify your doubts before the procedure. The procedure is free of risks as it does not involve radiation like in the case of X Rays, PET/CT scan. Hence it is considered the safest method to examine the development of the foetus in a pregnant mother.
In most cases there is no need for special preparation for ultrasound scan. Again the preparation may vary depending on the organ examined. For gallbladder examination, the patient is asked to fast for a minimum of 6 hours before the test. In the case of pelvic ultrasound, the patient is requested to drink plenty of water and hold the urine for a full bladder scan. This is to facilitate clear visualization of the uterus and ovaries or in the case of prostate.