What to Expect

What is an ultrasound?

An ultrasound procedure is a noninvasive diagnostic procedure used to assess soft tissue structures, such as muscles, blood vessels, and organs, as well as developing fetuses.

Ultrasound uses a transducer that sends out ultrasonic sound waves at a frequency too high to be heard. When the transducer is placed at certain locations and angles, the ultrasonic sound waves move through the skin and other body tissues to the organs and structures within. The sound waves bounce off the organs like an echo and return to the transducer. The transducer picks up the reflected waves, which are then converted by a computer into an electronic picture.

A water-based gel is placed between the transducer and the skin to allow for smooth movement of the transducer over the skin and to eliminate air between the skin and the transducer, ensuring the best sound conduction.

With the use of Doppler during an ultrasound procedure, blood flow can be assessed. The Doppler evaluates the velocity and direction of blood flow in the vessel and makes the sound waves audible. 

Ultrasounds are used to view internal organs as they function (in “real time,” like a live TV broadcast) and to assess blood flow through various vessels. Ultrasound procedures are often used to examine many parts of the body, such as the abdomen, breasts, female pelvis, prostate, scrotum, thyroid and parathyroid glands, and the vascular system. During pregnancy, ultrasounds are performed to evaluate the development of the fetus.

Technological advancements in the field of ultrasound now include images that can be made in a three-dimensional (3-D) view or four-dimensional (4-D) view. The added dimension of the 4-D is motion, so that it is a 3-D view with movement.

Preparing for Your Ultrasound Exam

Below, please find a list of the ultrasound procedures that we offer. Some ultrasound exams require special preparation. Click on any procedure to review a detailed procedure description and corresponding exam preparation, if required. It is important that you follow the preparation guidelines so the sonographer can obtain the best possible images.

*Please bring your insurance card and all policy information to your ultrasound appointment.

Abdominal Examinations

Abdominal Examinations

Abdominal ultrasound examinations may be ordered for a patient with abdominal pain, for a follow up to abnormal laboratory or imaging tests, for an evaluation of the aorta for aneurysm, or for a variety of other symptoms and indications. Abdominal exams are used as a way to examine a patients internal organs such as, but not limited to, the spleen, liver, gallbladder, uterus and ovaries, kidneys, bladder, and pancreas. Color Doppler Imaging may also be used during an abdominal ultrasound exam to assess blood flow in abdominal organs and structures.

Patient Preparation for Abdominal Examinations

  • You may not have any carbonated drinks or foods containing fat at least 8 hours prior to the exam. Acceptable food items are juice, water, coffee or tea without cream, and Jell-O. Medications can be taken prior to the exam with a small amount of water.
  • No smoking or chewing gum is allowed four hours prior to the exam.
  • Note that an ultrasound to evaluate the kidneys only does not require any preparation.

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Pelvic Ultrasound Examinations

High-resolution diagnostic ultrasound assists the physician in the evaluation of the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and related anatomy. Color Doppler Imaging may be used during a pelvic ultrasound exam to assess blood flow in pelvic organs and structures. When conventional scanning methods do not provide accurate diagnostic information, the physician may request an endovaginal ultrasound.

There are two exams for a complete pelvic ultrasound , the transabdominal and the endovaginal. 

Patient Preparation for a transabdominal pelvic ultrasound

Patients must have a full bladder before the pelvic exam can be performed. Patients should finish drinking 24 ounces of water one hour before their appointment time. Patients should not empty their bladder once they have started drinking.

Patient Preparation for an internal endovaginal ultrasound

If you are scheduled for both a transabdominal and a endovaginal, you will follow the prep for the transabdominal, which will be your first exam. After your transabdominal scan, the sonographer will have you completely empty your bladder prior to the endovaginal exam.  If you are scheduled for an endovaginal only, there is no prep and you may be asked to void upon arrival.

Obstetrical Ultrasound

Ultrasound may be performed during any stage of pregnancy. In early pregnancy, ultrasound is used to determine fetal age and viability. In the second and third trimesters, ultrasound is used to evaluate the fetal anatomy, monitor fetal growth and position, check amniotic fluid, survey the placental location, and more.

Patient Preparation for Obstetrical Ultrasound

For a first trimester less than 8 weeks exam, there is no preparation needed.

For a first trimester more than 8 weeks pregnant, patients should finish drinking 24 ounces of water one hour before their appointment time. Patients should not empty their bladder once they have started drinking.

For a second and third trimester, no patient preparation is necessary.

If date is unknown, patients should finish drinking 24 ounces of water one hour before their appointment time. Patients should not empty their bladder once they have started drinking.

Thyroid Ultrasound

Thyroid Ultrasound

A physician may use an ultrasound examination of the neck to help diagnose a lump in the thyroid or a thyroid that is not functioning properly.  The thyroid gland is located in front of the neck just below the Adam's apple and is shaped like a butterfly, with two lobes on either side of the neck.

No preparation is required for this exam.

Scrotal Ultrasound

Scrotal Ultrasound

Ultrasound imaging of the scrotum is the primary imaging method used to evaluate disorders of the testicles and surrounding areas. It is used when a patient is experiencing pain or swelling in the scrotum, a doctor or the patient has detected a mass, or there has been a trauma to the scrotal area. Some of the problems ultrasound imaging can identify include inflammation of the scrotum, an absent or undescended testicle, testicular torsion, abnormal blood vessels, or a lump or tumor.

No preparation is required for this exam.

Vascular Ultrasound

Vascular Ultrasound

Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.

Vascular ultrasound provides pictures of the body's veins and arteries.

Doppler ultrasound is a special ultrasound technique that evaluates blood flow through a blood vessel, including the body's major arteries and veins in the arms, legs and neck. 

No preparation is required for these exams.

When will I know the results?

When will I know the results?

Once your exam is complete, a Board Certified physician will review the images. The radiologist or perinatologist will interpret the ultrasound and provide a report to your doctor within 24 to 48 hours. Following an emergency or STAT exam the radiologist or perinatologist will have your results ready for your physician within an hour.

If you have any additional questions, please call your provider.

"At Premier, we have a passion for excellence. That passion is reflected in the professional approach we take in our effort to offer the best in health care services."
- Bill McCurdy, CEO & Founder

Learn more about the Premier Experience

  • Ultrasound Services

    Learn more about Premier’s range of ultrasound services.

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  • What to Expect

    Learn more about your Premier ultrasound preparation and procedure.

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    Premier accepts most third-party payments. Call 1.800.346.2111 with any questions.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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"No matter where you are, no matter who you are, you deserve quality care. At Premier, we are dedicated to providing high quality diagnostics when you need it, where you want it, at a cost that makes sense."

Bill McCurdy - CEO and Founder, Premier Ultrasound Services - Avon, MA

Premier Ultrasound Services - "An Image of Trust"
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