What is ultrasound?
Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to demonstrate the internal structures of the body. The echoes of the sound waves are recorded and displayed as a visual image. Ultrasound cannot be used for all areas of the body - some structures/areas may be better seen with X-rays, CT or MRI.
What is ultrasound used for?
An ultrasound of the abdomen (stomach area) is a useful way of examining the internal organs (e.g. liver, gallbladder, kidneys, bladder). As ultrasound images are shown on the screen, the Sonographer can see the movement of the internal organs (in real time) and surrounding area; as well as demonstrate blood flow in some studies (see below). Ultrasound can be used to rule out a number of conditions (e.g. gall or kidney stones).
Doppler ultrasound enables us to look at the circulatory system (blood in arteries and veins) Doppler ultrasound is used to diagnose any problems such as blockages or narrowing of the blood vessels. The blood flow is demonstrated on the ultrasound picture as areas of differing colours.
What do I need to do before an ultrasound?
You may need to remove clothing (e.g. for an ultrasound of your abdomen, we need to be able to see all of your abdomen, so it can be helpful if you are wearing clothes that are easy to slip up or off).
Some of the ultrasound examinations require that you either drink water, or alternatively don't eat or drink. The instructions for each examination area are available through this web site.
What does the ultrasound room look like?
The ultrasound room is darkened and has a narrow bed, beside which is a machine with a monitor much like a TV or computer screen. The front of the machine looks like a computer keyboard. The part of the machine that is used to produce the ultrasound image is called the "transducer" This is a small plastic square attached to the ultrasound machine by a thick cord.
When you have the ultrasound examination, the Sonographer (technician who is trained in ultrasound) will spread warm jelly on the area to be examined. This ultrasound gel enables good contact between the transducer and the skin so the best images are obtained. The Sonographer may ask you to move around and/or to hold your breath so they can see the area to be examined clearly. These images will be recorded on a CD for you.
The Sonographer will watch the monitor during your examination, and may be able to show you some of the details of what they are seeing on the monitor. After the examination is completed the Sonographer will wipe the gel off your skin.
The Sonographer may ask you to wait in the ultrasound room until they have shown the ultrasound images to the Radiologist. The Radiologist may wish to take some further ultrasound images. This does not mean something is wrong, rather they may wish to see the moving images of an area.
After the examination
The Radiologist will review the images and provide a written report to your referring doctor. The images are recorded onto a CD, this will be given to you at the end. Please settle your account on the day of the examination.
Please contact Mokoia Radiology for an appointment on (07) 345 5690 or 0800 4 MOKOIA (0800 426723)