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An ultrasound is a type of medical imaging study that uses high-frequency sound waves to make images of organs and structures inside the body.

How long does an ultrasound exam last?

Typically, an ultrasound examination will take about 30 minutes. However, some examinations, especially vascular imaging (blood vessel related), may take longer than this because of the detailed imaging that is required and the number and size of the organ or organs being examined.

What should I expect during an ultrasound?

An ultrasound machine makes images so that organs inside the body can be examined. The machine sends out high-frequency sound waves, which reflect off body structures. A computer receives the waves and uses them to create a picture. Unlike with an x-ray or CT scan, this test does not use ionizing radiation.

  • The test is done in the ultrasound or radiology department.
  • You will lie down for the test.
  • A clear, water-based gel is applied to the skin on the area to be examined. The gel helps with the transmission of the sound waves.
  • A handheld probe called a transducer is moved over the area being examined. You may need to change position so that other areas can be examined.

Your preparation will depend on the part of the body being examined. Most of the time, ultrasound procedures do not cause discomfort. The conducting gel may feel a little cold and wet.

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