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Ultrasound at UPMC Imaging Services

Ultrasound imaging, also known as sonography, is the measure of echoes throughout the body in the form of sound waves. These high-frequency sound waves produce images of your body’s organs or the blood flow through your veins and arteries.

Doctors use ultrasound to:

  • Determine how far along a woman is in her pregnancy.
  • Observe the size, shape, and position of the developing baby.
  • Detect tumors or other abnormalities in organs or tissues.

The Benefits of Ultrasound Imaging

Benefits Features
  • Painless

Ultrasound is a painless, non-invasive procedure, so there are no needles.

  • Safe

Unlike conventional x-rays, ultrasound does not need to use radiation. Ultrasound imaging does not require the use of any ionizing radiation. It's a safe, accurate way for doctors to see the progress of a pregnant woman’s developing baby.

  • Instant/Real-time

Doctors also look to ultrasound — a form of real-time imaging — to guide minimally invasive procedures, and to show movement and any abnormalities inside the body.

Preparing for Your Ultrasound

  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You may need to change in to a gown for the procedure.
  • Do not chew gum or smoke for 6 hours before the exam.
  • For gallbladder or abdomen ultrasounds, you should have nothing to eat or drink for 6 hours before the exam.

For some types of ultrasound exams, you may need to:

  • Fast (not eat or drink) for as many as 12 hours before your appointment.
  • Drink up to six glasses of water 2 hours prior to your exam and avoid urinating so that your bladder is full when the scan begins.

If you have questions about preparing for your ultrasound exam at UPMC Imaging Services, please call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762).

What to Expect During Your Ultrasound

An ultrasound exam usually takes about 45 to 60 minutes.

Ultrasound scanners consist of a:

  • Computer
  • Video display screen
  • Transducer — a hand-held device attached to the scanner that sends and receives ultrasound signals

During the exam, a technologist will:

  • Apply a gel on the skin over the part of your body to be imaged.
  • Move the transducer to different positions to view parts of the body at different angles.

The ultrasound image is immediately visible on the nearby video display screen.

Your Ultrasound Test Results

Our board-certified radiologists, perinatologists, cardiologists, and team of imaging specialists interpret your ultrasound scans.

Then, we electronically send your ultrasound images to your doctor who will discuss the results with you.

This state-of-the-art computer delivery system ensures your ultrasound images are always accessible from any UPMC hospital or facility.

If you have questions about preparing for your ultrasound exam, contact UPMC Imaging Services at 1-800-533-UPMC (8762).

Learn More About Types of Ultrasound Exams

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For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

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Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

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