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An ultrasound scan uses high frequency sound waves to produce images of the interior of the human body. These images are displayed on a monitor and can then be stored electronically.

The scanner uses the same technology as the sonar used by ships. During your scan a probe  is passed over an area of your body. The sound waves bounce off internal organs and are passed back through the microphone to a computer. The computer turns these sound waves into images that are displayed on a monitor.

What is ultrasound used for?

Ultrasound is used for a wide variety of scans, including:

Preparing for ultrasound scanning

You may be asked to remove some of your clothing and put on a hospital gown. For particular scans, you may be asked to refrain from eating or drinking prior to the procedure. If you are having your uterus scanned you may be asked to attend the appointment with a full bladder. This acts as an ultrasound window and allows better visualisation of the pelvic organs. Bladder scans will also require a full bladder - but don’t worry there is a toilet nearby so you can empty your bladder immediately following the scan.

What happens during ultrasound scanning?

An ultrasound scan is painless. Depending on what area of the body is being scanned this procedure can take from 15 to 30 minutes. A consultant radiologist will perform the scan and a healthcare assistant will be in the room to assist you and the consultant.

A clear gel will be spread on the area to be scanned. This gel helps to transmit the sound waves to the probe. The probe is pressed onto your skin and moved it back and forth over the area being scanned. The scan will appear on the monitor. Although ultrasound images can be very difficult to read and interpret, you are welcome to view the images during the scan. You may be asked to take deep breaths or to move into different positions to get different images.

If you have any questions or concerns about your particular scan or the preparation, be sure to call us using the number on your appointment letter.

Are ultrasound scans dangerous?

Ultrasound scanning is not dangerous and has no known side effects, it is used during pregnancy.

When will I find out the results?

For some types of scans, our staff will be able to explain the images and results to you during or just after the scan. In other cases, a detailed analysis may be needed.

Our radiologist will review the images and send a report on the findings to your doctor or health professional. Be sure and ask how long you should expect to wait for the results before you leave.

Find your nearest hospital that provides this test

67 Lansdowne Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1RW

01202 291866
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Shenfield Road, Brentwood, CM15 8EH

01277 695695
Overall rating Good

Warren Road, Brighton, BN2 6DX

01273 624488
Overall rating Meeting standards

3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN

0117 906 4870
Overall rating Good

4 Trumpington Road, Cambridge, CB2 8AF

01223 370919
Overall rating Outstanding
Cardiff and Vale  

Cardiff Bay Hospital, Dunleavey Drive, Cardiff, CF11 0SN

02920 836700

Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham, GL51 6SY

01242 246 500
Overall rating Good

Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QP

01244 680 444
Overall rating Good

78 Broyle Road, Chichester, PO19 6WB

01243 530600
Overall rating Good

Rykneld Road, Derby, DE23 4SN

01332 540100
Overall rating Good

Wonford Road, Exeter, EX2 4UG

01392 262110
Overall rating Good

25 Beaconsfield Road, Glasgow, G12 0PJ


Stirling Road, Guildford, GU2 7RF

01483 555805
Overall rating Good
Haywards Heath  

Burrell Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 1UD

01444 456999
Overall rating Good

Venns Lane, Hereford, HR1 1DF

01432 355 131
Overall rating Good

Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW

01473 279100
Overall rating Good

2 Leighton Street, Leeds, LS1 3EB

01133 882 067
Overall rating Outstanding

Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 1HY

0116 2769 401
Overall rating Good
Manchester Diagnostic Suite  

Nelson Street, Manchester, M13 9NQ

0161 272 5890
Overall rating Unknown
Newcastle upon Tyne  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 1JP

0191 281 6131
Overall rating Good
Newcastle upon Tyne  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 1JP

0191 281 6131
Overall rating Good
North Staffordshire  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 4DB

01782 625431
Overall rating Good

Beech Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7RP

01865 307777
Overall rating Good

Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BG

01752 775861
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Longden Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 9DP

01743 282628
Overall rating Good

Staplegrove Elm, Taunton, TA2 6AN

01823 286991
Overall rating Good

Junction Road, Norton, Stockton on Tees, TS20 1PX

01642 367439
Overall rating Outstanding
Tunbridge Wells  

Kingswood Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4UL

01892 531111
Overall rating Good

The Chase, Old Milverton Lane, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW

01926 436351
Overall rating Good

Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 2DW

02380 266 377
Overall rating Good

Shores Road, Woking, GU21 4BY

01483 227800
Overall rating Good

Wood Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 8LE

01902 754 177
Overall rating Good

Haxby Road, York, YO31 8TA

01904 715000
Overall rating Good

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