An Ultrasound, also called a Sonar, uses high frequency sound waves to produce images of living tissues, blood vessels and organs inside your body. These images are captured and displayed on a computer screen showing the scan as a real-time video.
A small, handheld probe is used to receive the image by guiding it over the surface of your body. The returning sound waves then get reflected back to the probe, which are displayed in real-time on the monitor.
It is a safe, reliable painless and radiation free examination. Different probes are used to ensure the best imaging for the body organ or structure being evaluated.It is often used as a first line investigation or screening examination.
Ultrasound waves cannot penetrate gas and bone. As such, ultrasound cannot be used to look deeply into joints, the lungs or gas containing bowel loops.
Booking your Ultrasound
- Please remember to bring your medical aid card together with the signed request form from your referring doctor.
- An appointment time will be given to you.
Preparing for your Ultrasound
- Please arrive 20 minutes before the appointment time to complete paperwork.
- Previous imaging, not done with Dr de Villiers & Partners, must be brought with you to the appointment.
- The examination takes approximately 20 minutes.
- An Ultrasound Scan may require some preparation before the scan; you will be informed of this when making your booking.
- For an Upper Abdomen Scan, do not eat or drink 6 hours before to the scan.
- For a Pelvis, Bladder or Kidney Scan, your bladder must be full. This may require you to drink 6 cups of water before the scan. DO NOT go to the toilet before the scan. Please inform Reception if you do need to go to the toilet.
- For Joint Scans (shoulder, ankle, elbow, wrist, knee), no preparation is required.
Abdomen including Gall bladder
- Fast for 6 hours prior.
- Chronic medication may be taken with small sips of water.
- No tea, coffee, fruit juice or dairy products may be used to take medication.
Pelvis, Renal scans & 1st Trimester Pregnancy
- You will require a full bladder for this scan.
- 60 minutes prior to the appointment empty your bladder and then drink one liter of water (not coffee or tea).
- Do NOT empty your bladder until after the examination.
Musculoskeletal /soft tissue
(any part of a limb, all joints, muscles)
Breast, eye, thyroid, penile, scrotum
- Doppler veins (NONE)
- Doppler Carotid, Leg & other arteries (NONE)
- Doppler Aorta & Renal. (Fast 8 hours)
Injection, biopsy or FNA (Fine Needle Aspiration)
Infiltrations, biopsy or FNA (Fine Needle Aspiration)
- Patients on Anticoagulants like Disprin, Warfarin or Ecotrin may be requested to reduce their dose prior to the examination
What to expect during your Ultrasound
- You will be asked to lie on an examination bed. Some examinations are also performed seated.
- An Ultrasonographer will perform the sonar.
- A device, known as a probe, will be used to do the sonar.
- To assist the Ultrasonographer with the sonar, a warm gel-like substance will be applied to the skin first.
- You could be asked to hold your breath during the scan and to roll onto your side.
- A Doppler study is an extension of the ultrasound scan that assesses blood flow and the scan may be noisy while the blood vessels are being assessed. The preparation requirements for female pelvic ultrasounds vary according to age, stage of pregnancy or type of condition requiring investigation.
- Women who are not pregnant and attending for a pelvic gynecological scan need to have a full bladder, as do pregnant women in the first trimester (first three months).