Is ultrasound safe?

Ultrasound is safe, painless and does not use radiation. Pacemakers, jewellery and other metallic objects do not affect the ultrasound and are safe to wear.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) requires that the public are made aware of the safety guidelines for 4D baby scanning.

The Health Protection Agency published a report in February 2010 which considers "that parents-to-be should be aware of uncertainties regarding ultrasound imaging…" when thinking about 4D scans. The full article can be accessed here 

All scans carried out at The Ultrasound Centre are fully compliant with professional guidelines and are carried out by qualified, experienced sonographers. All scans will be performed and operate within published guidelines for thermal exposure times and mechanical index values.


Who will be doing my scan?

Your examination will be conducted by a qualified sonographer. 


How long will my scan last?

Typically most ultrasound scans will take between 15 and 45 minutes.


Why do I need to fast before my scan?

Fasting will allow the gallbladder to be examined as it will be distended and the presence of gallstones can be assessed. Fasting will also limit a lot of ‘gas ‘ in the bowel and support clearer imaging of the upper abdominal organs. 


Why do I need a full bladder?

A full bladder is necessary in order to examine the outline of the bladder and the prostate in males, or in the case of a gynaecology examination a full bladder will allow the female pelvic organs (uterus and ovaries) to be seen more clearly. 


What will happen during my scan?

The sonographer will ask you to lay down on a couch. Then some ultrasound gel and a small ultrasound camera (probe) will be placed on your skin and moved around to obtain images of the area of your body being examined. You may be given breathing instructions or asked to roll onto your side during the examination.


How will I get my results?

Your results will be made available to your GP and you are invited to book a GP appointment to discuss the results after 5 days. 


Can an increased BMI (body mass index) affect the outcome of an ultrasound examination?

Ultrasound image quality is affected by increased body mass index (BMI) and may therefore limit the value of the examination, as such this may be reported as a factor contributing to the reduced image quality. Although the sonographer will do their best to obtain good diagnostic images and results, sometimes alternative imaging such as CT or MRI may be recommended to achieve additional information.