How you prepare for an ultrasound depends on the type of exam you are getting. For any abdominal ultrasound, you'll be asked not to eat or drink anything for eight hours prior to the exam. This ensures that the results are clear and not distorted by the presence of food matter.
For a pelvic ultrasound, you'll need to drink four eight-ounce glasses of water an hour before your exam and not use the bathroom until after the exam is complete. While this may cause minor discomfort, the water fills your bladder, creating a liquid-filled "window" through which the technologist can clearly see the area that needs examination.
Undergoing an ultrasound to evaluate your arms, legs, and neck? For these types of exams, no special preparation is required.
What to Expect on Exam Day
- Arrive 15 minutes early to complete the registration process.
- The technologist will come and escort you to the dressing room, where you will change into a patient gown.
- Once inside the exam room, the technologist will explain the exam to you and answer any questions you may have.
- To begin the exam, you will be asked to lie down on the table while the technologist applies a small amount of gel to the area that is to be scanned.
- The technologist will use a transducer, moving it across the area to be examined while applying mild pressure.
- The exam may take anywhere from 15 minutes to up to an hour to complete.
- After the exam, the technologist will assist you off the table and escort you to your dressing booth where you may change and leave. Results will be forwarded to your physician who will explain them to you.