What is an ultrasound?
Ultrasound is an imaging technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to study the structure and movement of internal organs, tissues and blood vessels. It also is widely used for obstetric and gynaecologic examinations.
An ultrasound is performed using ‘real time’ pictures – not still images. A water-based acoustic gel is applied directly onto the skin to improve transmission of sound waves between the body and the ultrasound transducer or ‘probe’. The reflected sound or echoes are recorded to create pictures.
How should I prepare for an ultrasound?
Our medical reception team will inform you of any preparation requirements when you call to schedule your ultrasound. If your referring doctor has requested an upper abdominal scan (liver, gall bladder or pancreas) you will be asked to fast for six hours beforehand. Conversely, kidney, bladder and prostate gland ultrasounds require a full bladder and you will be asked to drink one litre of water an hour before your scan. A full bladder is not required for scrotum or testes scans. There is no preparation for a musculoskeletal or vascular ultrasound examination, however arterial ultrasounds may require some preparation.
Please bring any previous X-rays with you on the day of your examination.
On the day of your appointment
Epworth Medical Imaging’s friendly staff will greet you on arrival and take your details.
A sonographer will collect you from the waiting area and escort you to the ultrasound room, where you may be asked to change into a gown. You may be seated for some musculoskeletal examinations, but for most studies you will be asked to lie down on an ultrasound table.
Acoustic gel will be applied over the area to be examined then the sonographer will use a small probe or transducer to scan the area of interest and take a series of pictures. To optimise image quality, the sonographer may ask you to hold your breath or to move positions.
Ultrasounds are non-invasive and painless, however if your bladder is full (required for studies such as pelvic scans) you may be slightly uncomfortable. If you experience discomfort during the procedure, please alert your sonographer who will help you.
The gel will be wiped from your skin after the ultrasound. This is water-soluble and easily removed from soiled clothing.
The duration of your ultrasound will depend on the type of scan requested. Most take about 20 minutes; some take up to an hour and vascular ultrasounds may take up to 90 minutes.
Once your ultrasound has been completed, our sonographer will take you back to reception. Our receptionist will give you either hardcopy films or a CD to take with you. The radiologist will produce a report which will be sent directly to your GP or specialist – please contact your GP or specialist in order to discuss results.
Epworth Medical Imaging accepts cash, cheque, EFTFOS, MasterCard and Visa for on-the-day payment. If you have provided your bank details to Medicare, claims can be lodged electronically to ensure that your Medicare rebate is deposited directly into your bank account.
Pensioner Concession, Health Care, Commonwealth Seniors Health and Department of Veterans’ Affairs Gold cardholders will be bulk-billed for all Medicare-eligible outpatient items. Some surgical procedures and scans that are not covered under the Medicare Benefits Schedule may incur an out-of-pocket cost. Our staff will inform you of costs prior to your examination. Please present your Medicare card and any concession cards to reception on arrival.