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What is an Ultrasound?

Ultrasound examinations can be performed on most parts of the body and provide excellent information about a variety of conditions – from pregnancy to gall stones, varicose veins and even muscle tears.

During an ultrasound examination, sound waves are bounced back from parts of the body (like sonar) to give black and white (or in some cases now, colour) images.

Ultrasound is particularly useful in pregnancy as there are no known harmful effects from its diagnostic use. Modern ultrasound equipment shows detail in “real‐time”, not as still images. This enables a moving image to be seen on the screen.

These examinations are carried out and interpreted by a Radiologist (a doctor trained in reading x‐rays and ultrasounds) and a Sonographer (a technologist trained in ultrasound imaging).

The Sonographer uses a transducer (a hand‐held device which produces and receives the sound waves) to display the images. The ultrasound procedure is usually painless.

Your doctor will explain why an ultrasound examination is necessary and the best choice of imaging for you. Your doctor may feel it is necessary for you to have an x‐ray or other procedure, as well as an ultrasound.


Please ensure the following steps are followed. They will serve to prepare you for your examination and/or procedure.

  • Appointment required for this examination
  • You will be advised of the appropriate preparation when you make your appointment

Related Downloads

Ultrasound Patient Guide