Ultrasound Services at Palomar Health

What is an Ultrasound?

Ultrasound (or "sonography, or sonogram") is a procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to show structures inside your body.

Common uses of this procedure.

Ultrasound is an excellent tool in several diagnostic situations including the examination of the fetus during pregnancy, distinguishing tumors and/or cysts, evaluating the gallbladder and other internal organs and viewing vessels and/or arteries.

How does it work?

Because the body contains over 90% water, sound waves can be used in some parts of the body just as sonar is used in bodies of water. Each time the sound hits tissue, such as an organ or blood vessel, an echo is sent back. A high-speed computer then uses these echoes to create a picture of your internal organs. The result is a very detailed examination which aids the physician in his or her diagnosis.

What should I expect?

You will be asked to lie down on a padded table and a gel will be applied to your skin above the area under examination. The technologist will move a device called a "transducer" over your skin and an image will appear on a video screen. Pictures of these images will be saved for permanent reference. You may be asked to hold your breath or assume different positions on the table. It is important that you remain as still as possible during your exam.

Patient Preparation

Depending on the exam your physician has ordered, you may need to fill your bladder with fluid or prepare for your exam hours before the actual test.

Exam Results

Your exam will be read and a report will be phoned, faxed or mailed to your physician promptly. He/she will share the results with you.