Ultrasound Imaging

Ultrasound Imaging at RVPUltrasound imaging is also called ultrasound scanning or sonography. It is a safe and painless scan that produces pictures of the inside of the body using sound waves.

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.
Ultrasound scanners consist of a console containing a computer and electronics, a video display screen and a transducer that is used to do the scanning. The transducer is a small hand-held device that resembles a paddle or microphone, attached to the scanner by a cord. The transducer sends out inaudible high frequency sound waves into the body and then listens for the returning echoes from the tissues in the body. The principles are similar to sonar used by boats and submarines.

The ultrasound image is immediately visible on a video display screen that looks like a computer or television monitor.

How should I prepare?

You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound exam. Depending on the type of ultrasound scan your provider has ordered for you, you may be asked to change into a gown for the scan.

Abdominal ultrasounds

  • Nothing to eat or drink for 8 hours before your appointment
  • Medications may be taken with small sips of water
  • Diabetics may have some clear juice

Pelvic, obstetrical or renal/kidney ultrasounds

  • Drink 32 ounces of water and be finished drinking 1 hour prior to exam
  • Patients need to arrive for their scan with full bladder.
  • Patients on dialysis do NOT need to follow this preparation.

Your ultrasound experience

After registration, a Rogue Valley Physicians imaging team member will show you to the ultrasound room in our imaging center. You will be met by a registered sonographer who is specially trained and certified by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography to perform the screening. You may be asked to change into a gown for the screening depending on the type of ultrasound scan your provider has ordered.

For most ultrasound exams, you will be positioned lying face-up on an examination table that can be tilted or moved.

After you are positioned on the examination table, the sonographer will apply a warm water-based gel to the area of the body being studied. The gel will help the transducer make secure contact with the body and eliminate air pockets between the transducer and the skin that can block the sound waves from passing into your body. The transducer is placed on the body and moved back and forth over the area of interest until the desired images are captured.

Once the imaging is complete, the clear ultrasound gel will be wiped off your skin. Any portions that are not wiped off will dry to a powder. The ultrasound gel does not stain or discolor clothing.

After an ultrasound examination, you should be able to resume your normal activities immediately.

Who interprets the results and how do I get them?

A radiologist, a physician specifically trained to supervise and interpret radiology examinations, will analyze the images and send a signed report to your primary care physician, or to the physician or other healthcare provider who requested the exam, and he/she will share the results with you.

What are the benefits vs. risks?


  • Most ultrasound scanning is noninvasive (no needles or injections).
  • Ultrasound is widely available, easy-to-use and less expensive than other imaging methods.
  • Ultrasound imaging is extremely safe and does not use any ionizing radiation.
  • Ultrasound scanning gives a clear picture of soft tissues that do not show up well on x-ray images.
  • Ultrasound is the preferred imaging modality for the diagnosis and monitoring of pregnant women and their unborn babies.
  • Ultrasound provides real-time imaging, making it a good tool for guiding minimally invasive procedures such as needle biopsies and fluid aspiration.


  • For standard diagnostic ultrasound, there are no known harmful effects on humans.

Ultrasound benefits and risks information has been provided by www.radiologyinfo.org