Ultrasound Department

Ultrasound imaging is a common diagnostic medical procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images (sonograms) of organs, tissues, or blood flow inside the body. Prenatal ultrasound examinations are performed by trained professionals, such as sonographers, radiologists, and obstetricians. The procedure involves using a transducer, which sends a stream of high-frequency sound waves into the body and detects their echoes as they bounce off internal structures. The sound waves are then converted to electric impulses, which are processed to form an image displayed on a computer monitor. It is from these images that videos and portraits are made.



What are some reasons why an Ultrasound exam is performed?
Sonography can be used to examine many parts of the body, such as the abdomen, breasts, female reproductive system, prostate, heart and blood vessels, and more. In obstetrics, ultrasound technology is used to study the age, number, and location of the fetus, as well as to examine the fetus for birth defects or other potential problems. In the abdomen, it is used to detect abnormalities such as gallstones or liver disease. Heart disease can be identified through cardiac ultrasound.



What happens during the scan?
The sonographer applies an odorless, colorless gel to the skin above the body structure(s) to be studied. This gel helps conduct sound waves from the ultrasound transducer down to the tissues that are the focus of the study. The sonographer applies the transducer to the skin and short pulses of ultrasound waves are emitted and received. As the transducer is moved around, an image of the various organs under study appears on a monitor. The sonographer then electronically stores what he or she considers to be the most diagnostically useful images. Your physician will interpret the selected images and use them to make a final diagnosis. Ultrasound exams in which the transducer is inserted into an opening of the body may produce minimal discomfort. If a Doppler ultrasound study is performed, you may actually hear pulse-like sounds that change in pitch as the blood flow is monitored and measured. Once the imaging is complete, the technician will wipe the gel off of your skin. After an ultrasound exam, you should be able to resume your normal activities immediately



What are the benefits?
Diagnostic ultrasound is noninvasive, involves no radiation, and avoids the possible hazards--such as bleeding, infection, or reactions to chemicals--of other diagnostic methods. Ultrasound scanning gives a clear picture of soft tissues that do not show up well on x-ray images and is the preferred imaging modality for the diagnosis and monitoring of pregnant women and their unborn babies.



Are there any risks?
There are no known harmful effects on humans using standard diagnostic ultrasound.



Do I need an appointment?
Yes, you or your physician may call (724) 250-4300 to schedule your exam.



Do I need a prescription to have an ultrasound examination?
A prescription is necessary for you to have the exam. Please remember to place the script in your wallet prior to leaving the doctors office, so it will be on your person when you arrive for the exam. If you do not have a prescription or your doctor has not sent one to the hospital, your ultrasound exam may be delayed.



Where can I have my ultrasound exam done?
You may have your ultrasound exam at The Washington Hospital or one of our other satellite facilities listed below.


Washington Health System Washington Hospital

(724) 229-2051

M-F 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Outpatient Center - Greene County

(724) 852-7559

M, F 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

W 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Outpatient Center - Neighbor Health

(724) 223-3750

M-F 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Medical Plaza - Peters Township

(724) 942-6460

T,W,Th 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Outpatient Center - Cecil

(724) 579-1427

M,T,Th 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Outpatient Center - Meadows Landing

(724) 223-3313

M-F 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.



How do I prepare for the scan?

You may wear comfortable clothing for your exam. You may need to change into a hospital gown for some exams. If your examination is of the abdomen you will need to fast for 12 hours. For pelvic examinations, you may be asked to drink and finish up to 32 ounces of water one hour before your appointment time so that your bladder is full when the scan begins.



How do I get the results?

The radiologist will review the images and will send a signed report to the requesting physician within a few days. Urgent results will be called in immediately to your doctor.



Where can people get more information about ultrasound?

Additional information about ultrasound is available from the The American College of Radiology Web site, located at www.acr.org.



Any questions?
Please call Washington Health System Washington Hospital Ultrasound Department at (724) 229-2051.