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Ultrasound uses sound waves to produce the images that will be obtained during your scan. The sound waves are produced and received by a small instrument called a transducer. Returning sound waves called "echoes" are sent back to the same transducer and the attached equipment electronically changes the echoes into a picture (image) of the area being scanned.

Is Ultrasound Safe?

Diagnostic ultrasound has been in use for over 50 years. The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine has issued the following statement in regards to the clinical safety of ultrasound: "No confirmed biological effects on patients or instrument operator caused by exposure at intensities typical of present diagnostic instruments have ever been reported."

Isn't Ultrasound Just for Pregnancies?

In addition to pregnancies, ultrasound is used to image the gallbladder, liver, kidneys, pancreas, uterus, ovaries, prostate, testicles, thyroid and breasts. Ultrasound is also used to evaluate the blood flow in the arteries and veins in the neck, abdomen and legs as well as your heart.

Will Ultrasound Hurt?

The procedure itself is painless, however mild discomfort might occur from the slight pressure or angling of the transducer. A gel-like substance is applied to the skin surface so that the transducer will have better contact. For some pregnancy and gynecological exams it may be necessary to place the transducer inside the vagina, to obtain a close-up view of the uterus and the ovaries. In most cases women do not find this to be uncomfortable.