An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the area of examination. A small handheld probe is placed onto your skin, and moved over the part of the body being examined. Lubricating gel is put onto your skin to allow the probe to move smoothly. This is a widely used diagnostic test to examine the organs and soft tissues of the body. Your ultrasound scan will be carried out by one of our Consultant Radiologists.
Do I need to be referred for an Ultrasound?
Yes, you will need a referral from your Consultant, GP, Physiotherapist or another medical practitioner.
Are there any risks associated with having an Ultrasound scan?
Ultrasound is one of the safest ways of examining the body. It does not use x-rays and there is no evidence that it is harmful in any way.
If you are having an Ultrasound guided injection there is a small risk of infection, as there is with any injection. If, after your procedure, the area is hot or swollen, or you develop a fever you should contact the clinic or your own GP.
Before your Ultrasound scan
You may eat and drink as normal before your scan unless you are advised otherwise. You may be asked to fast if you are having a scan of your abdominal area. You may be asked to arrive for your appointment with a full bladder if you are having a scan of your pelvic area.
The area being examined will need to be visible. Wearing shorts for lower limb examinations, or a vest top for shoulder or arm exams may make you more comfortable. Otherwise, we are more than happy to provide you with a gown.
If you are having a steroid injection and are currently taking medication to prevent blood clotting (anticoagulants), please inform the Radiologist or nursing team of this. Please inform the Radiologist if you are diabetic as a steroid injection may temporarily affect your blood sugar levels. .
You will be asked to sign a consent form before your examination.
During your Ultrasound scan
The Radiologist carrying out the ultrasound and the injection, if you are having one, will explain the procedure and you will have the opportunity to ask any questions at this stage. You will be positioned sitting or lying on the examination couch and have water-based gel applied to the examination area.
The Radiologist will slowly move the probe over the area while viewing the images produced on the monitor. The lights in the room will be dimmed so that the pictures on the screen can be seen more clearly and records of selected images will be made so that they can be viewed later. It is important for the Radiologist to examine you in the correct position and to gently press down on the probe to get a good view. For some people this may be uncomfortable. If you are uncomfortable you should let the radiologist know, so that they can make adjustments for you.
Ultrasound Guided Injection
Your skin around where we will inject will be cleaned with antiseptic solution. A small amount of local anaesthetic may be administered to the skin depending upon the site of injection. The radiologist will inject the medication under ultrasound guidance. A small plaster will be placed over the injection site.
Your ultrasound examination usually takes between 15-30 minutes.
After your Ultrasound scan
You may eat and drink normally afterwards and will be free to leave as soon as you are ready.
After your injection
You may have some numbness or weakness after the injection that may last for a few hours due to the local anaesthetic. You should not have any pain for the first few hours. However, when the local anaesthetic wears off, your pain may return. Sometimes this initial pain can be a little worse than before the injection. This generally settles within 48 hours. You can take regular analgesics such as paracetamol and ibuprofen if required.
Most people notice an improvement in their symptoms within 2-3 weeks. The benefit can last for months or may be permanent. Your referring Consultant will be able to discuss specific after care
with you as, for each person and procedure this may differ.
Your images will be available immediately on our image viewing system for your Consultant to view.
A Consultant Radiologist will provide a formal report within 24-48 hours. All patient information is protected and stored using the strictest security measures.
About our Ultrasound machine
At Opus Diagnostics we have a Canon AplioTM i800 ultrasound machine. This top of the range scanner is designed to deliver crystal-clear images with enhanced resolution and penetration as well as an abundance of expert tools to help obtain diagnostic answers quickly and reliably. Its features include:
- iBeam architecture with dramatically increased processing power provides outstanding imaging clarity and definition while significantly enhancing penetration.
- Colour flow imaging with superb micro-vascular imaging (SMI) expands the range of visible blood flow to visualize low-velocity microvascular flow never before seen with diagnostic ultrasound.
- Ultra-wideband i-series transducers cover the same bandwidth as two conventional transducers, providing superior sensitivity and resolution for both near and far field. This revolutionary transducer design can provide better imaging regardless of the patient condition.
- Intelligent Dynamic MicroSlice technology increases clinical accuracy and reveals more detail in all depths by electronically sharpening the imaging slice thickness.
- 24 MHz and hockeystick transducers with extended bandwidth and iDMS Dynamic MicroSlice technology provide superior detail and definition in the near field for a wide range of examinations.