What is Ultrasound?

Ultrasound is an imaging technique that uses sound waves to view soft-tissue organs within the body. The images produced during an ultrasound examination often provide valuable information for diagnosing and treating a variety of diseases and conditions.

How does the Ultrasound machine work?

Ultrasound imaging involves the use of a small transducer (probe) and ultrasound gel placed directly on the skin. High-frequency sound waves are transmitted from the probe through the gel into the body. The transducer collects the sounds that bounce back and a computer then uses those sound waves to create an image. Ultrasound examinations do not use ionizing radiation (as used in x-rays), thus there is no radiation exposure to the patient. Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.

Why an Ultrasound?

Ultrasound examinations can help to diagnose a variety of conditions and to assess organ damage following illness. Ultrasound is used to help physicians evaluate symptoms such as pain, swelling and infection.

Ultrasound is a useful way of examining many of the body's internal organs. You may need to undergo an ultrasound for a variety of reasons, such as:

    • Assess a fetus
    • Diagnose gallbladder disease
    • Evaluate flow in blood vessels
    • Evaluate a breast lump
    • Check your thyroid gland
    • Study your heart
    • Diagnose some forms of infection
    • Diagnose some forms of cancer
    • Reveal abnormalities in the genitalia and prostate
    • Evaluate abnormalities of the muscles and tendons

How should I get ready for the exam?

Many ultrasound examinations require you to fast for up to 8 hours prior to your examination. If you are diabetic, please let our clinic staff clerk know at the time of booking to ensure an early morning appointment. Please arrive at the clinic at least 15 minutes early to register. Bring your requisition, which gives our sonographers and radiologists the information they need to perform the correct study optimally for you.

Your preparation will vary depending on the type of ultrasound exam you are having:

BLADDER OR PELVIS - The exam requires a full bladder. Please drink 1 liter (32 oz) of water one hour prior to your appointment time. DO NOT empty your bladder until after the examination. If your bladder is not full, the examination may have to be rescheduled. You may eat your regular meals and/or snack prior to the exam.

BIOPHYSICAL PROFILE OR PREGNANCY 28 WEEKS AND OVER - This exam requires a partially full bladder. Please drink 500ml (16 oz) of water 45 minutes prior to your appointment time. DO NOT empty your bladder until after the examination. If your bladder is not full, the examination may have to be rescheduled. Eat regular meals and/or have a snack 30 minutes prior to appointment time.

ABDOMEN - DO NOT eat, drink or consume anything by mouth 8 hours prior to examination: NO water, other liquids, chewing gum, lozenges or food 8 hours before exam. No smoking 4 hours prior to exam.

ABDOMEN AND PELVIS - Drink a minimum of 1 liter (32 oz) of water one hour prior to your appointment time. You must have a full bladder for this exam. DO NOT eat, drink or consume anything else by mouth (other than water) for 8 hours prior to your examination: no other liquids, chewing gum, lozenges or food 8 hours before exam. No smoking 4 hours prior to exam.

Our clinic staff will provide you with complete preparation instructions when booking your appointment.

Are ultrasound exams harmful?

No. There is no evidence to show that ultrasound waves are harmful. Ultrasound waves do not use radiation. This is why prenatal ultrasound testing can be done using ultrasound technology.

May I bring someone to the exam with me?

Yes, although they will have to wait in a waiting room while the ultrasound is being done.

What can I expect during the exam?

During an ultrasound exam, you usually lie on an examination table. A small amount of gel is applied to your skin. The gel helps eliminate the formation of air pockets between the ultrasound and your body. During the exam, a technician trained in ultrasound imaging (sonographer) presses a small hand-held device (transducer), about the size of a bar of soap, against your skin over the area of your body being examined, moving from one area to another as necessary.

Based on the same principles as sonar, a technology used to detect underwater objects, the transducer generates and receives high-frequency sound waves that can't be heard by the human ear.

As the sonographer places the transducer on your skin, crystals inside the transducer emit pulses of sound waves that travel into your body. Your tissues, bones and body fluids reflect the sound waves and bounce them back to the transducer. The transducer then sends this information to a computer, which composes detailed images based on the patterns created by the sound waves.

Ultrasound is usually a painless procedure. However, you may experience some mild discomfort as the sonographer guides the transducer over your body, especially if you're required to have a full bladder. A typical ultrasound exam takes from 30 minutes to an hour.

How long does the ultrasound scan take?

A typical ultrasound exam includes about 30 minutes of scan time. Total time from intake to completion is about an hour.

When and from whom will I get my results?

Your referring physician will receive a faxed report within 5 to 10 business days of your exam. You can make an appointment with your referring physician to go over your results.

Why do you need my previous ultrasounds, x-rays, CT and MRI scans?

They can provide useful additional information for the Radiologist for comparison purposes when they are interpreting your ultrasound scan.

Will the results of my scan be kept confidential?

Yes. All of our staff members are bound to confidentiality agreements and follow strict codes of professional conduct.

How much does an ultrasound cost?

Ultrasound examinations start at $495.00 per body region. Our clinic staff will explain the applicable charges at the time of booking your appointment.

Is my exam covered by Medicare?

The costs of an ultrasound scan at a private clinic are not usually covered by the New Brunswick Medicare system. At present, most extended health plans will not cover these costs. Please check your plan for details. Some employers, disability insurers and third party payers may cover the costs of the ultrasound examination for you. In addition, costs associated with ultrasound exams may be eligible for the Medical Expense Tax Credit offered by the Canada Revenue Agency.

What methods of payment do you accept?

We accept Visa, MasterCard, Cash, and Debit.

 

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