Ultrasound scanning is the use of high-frequency sound waves to produce images of organs, tissues, or blood flow within a patient for diagnostic purposes.
Due to the use of sound waves instead of radiation, ultrasound procedures are believed to be completely safe.
The most common ultrasound procedures are:
Pelvic scans: This scan can be performed both transabdominal and transvaginally.
Transabdominal scans require a full bladder. You will need to consume a litre of water 30 to 60 minutes prior to your scan taking place. The ultrasound probe is pushed against the lower abdominal wall to look down into the pelvis.
A transvaginal (TV) Scan is performed with an empty bladder, using a thin probe inserted into the vagina. This allows detailed information to be obtained by having the probe closer to the pelvic organs.
Abdominal scans: Performed transabdominal, these scans usually involve fasting for four hours before the examination to allow for improved imaging of the liver and gall bladder.
Renal scans: Performed transabdominal with a full bladder, this requires the patient to drink a litre of water 30 to 60 minutes prior to the scan taking place. This scan then helps to assess the kidneys and bladder.
Doppler Venous/arterial scans: Doppler imaging analyses the flow of blood within vessels.
Musculoskeletal scans: These are carried out by a musculoskeletal specialist
Preparing for an Ultrasound scan
Certain types of ultrasound scan may need you to follow specific instructions to improve the image quality of the scan.
- Drink plenty of water and do not empty your bladder until after your scan – this may be necessary before an antenatal scan or gynaecological pelvic scan.
- Avoid eating for 8 hours before your scan, but drink plenty of clear fluids and do not empty your bladder until after the scan – this may be necessary before an abdominal scan checking your liver and gallbladder.
External Ultrasound scan
An external ultrasound scan is used to examine the liver, kidneys and other organs in your abdomen. It can also be used to assess your muscles and joints and many other organs through your skin.
A lubricating gel is put on your skin and a small handheld probe is moved over your skin to assess the underlying structures. You should not feel anything other than the sensor and gel on your skin.
Internal or Transvaginal Ultrasound scan
An internal ultrasound allows our ultrasonographer to look through the vagina. During the procedure, you will be asked to lie on your back and a small probe will be gently passed into the vagina and the images are transmitted to a monitor.
Internal examinations are ideal for looking at your ovaries and womb and may cause some discomfort, but should not be painful.
If you are looking for reassurance early in your pregnancy (not 4D ultrasound) or a general medical private ultrasound in London to visualise the internal organs and body structures to get quick answers about your health, you can rest assured that our sonographers have the skills and the knowledge to provide you with the instant answers you need.