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Tests and Procedures

Ultrasound procedures are performed at all Saskatoon Hospitals and in Humboldt.

What is Ultrasound?

A rapidly oscillating crystal, inaudible to the human ear produces sound waves to produce an image. A transducer is used to transmit and receive the echoes. Differing tissue interfaces within the body reflect the sound, and a computer in the ultrasound unit produces an image from the returning echo pattern.

Ultrasound is used to examine many parts of the body, including babies in the mother's womb, the vascular system, heart, organs within the abdominal cavity, urinary system, ovaries, brain, spinal cord, muscles and skeletal system.  Ultrasound is used in the differnetiation of fluid-filled versus solid structures.  Air and bone as well as calcified tissues absorb nearly all the ultrasound beam making examination of bones and lungs difficult.

Ultrasound can be used with biopsy techniques to take samples of tissues deep in the body.

How is Ultrasound Performed?

 The transducer must be in close contact with the skin for the examination since the frequency of sound produced does not transmit through air.  A jelly-like substance is applied to the skin to improve the transmission of sound through tissue.  The transducer is moved over the skin of the body part to be examined.  On occasion it may be necessary to place the transducer in the vagina or rectum to obtain the best images of pelvic structures.

Most procedures take 30 minutes to complete.

What do I need to do to prepare?

Wear comfortable clothing to your appointment.  you may be required to change into a hospital gown or just move a portion of your clothing so that the technologist can access the area to be examined.   

Limited studies may be done for certain conditions for patients who do not follow the preparation guidelines below.  On occasion the examination may have to be delayed or rescheduled.

  • Abdomen (including liver, spleen, gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys, aorta and other abdominal vessels: Nothing to eat or drink from midnight the night before the exam (minimum 8 hours)
  • Abdomen/Pelvic: Nothing to eat or drink from midnight the night before the exam (minimum 8 hours). You should not urinate in the morning prior to the examination.  Clear fluids may be taken to fill the bladder if necessary.
  • Renal system: Full bladder
  • Renal Arteries: Light diet 2 days prior to the test (soup, juices, clear fluids, Jell-O). Nothing to eat or drink for 8 hours prior to the test.  Full bladder is not required. Patient must be cooperative and able to hold breath for extended periods of time.
  • Pelvic/Obstetrical - No dietary restrictions.  Drink at least four 8 ounce glasses of water one hour prior to the test. Do not urinate until the test is complete.  Obstetric patients must not smoke for at least 2 hours prior to the test.
  • Small Parts (including thyroid, parathyroid, shoulder, knee, hip etc): No preparation
  • Vascular exams (Doppler studies): No preparation

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Last Modified: Thursday, March 17, 2022 |
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