Diagnostic ultrasound, also called sonography or diagnostic medical sonography, is an imaging method that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures within the body. The images can provide valuable information for diagnosing and treating a variety of diseases and conditions, including cancers. Most ultrasound examinations are done using a sonar device outside the body, though some ultrasound examinations involve placing a device inside the body.

Specialty Services/Procedures

  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • Gynecologic/pelvic ultrasound
  • Esophageal ultrasound
  • First trimester OB ultrasound
  • Scrotal ultrasound
  • Thyroid ultrasound
  • Deep vein thrombosis ultrasound
  • Head ultrasound
  • Transcranial doppler ultrasound (for blood circulation within the brain)
  • Transvaginal ultrasounds, which are performed by inserting a small probe into the vagina
  • Neuromuscular ultrasound

Ultrasounds may also be used for orthopedic reasons. There are many reasons for examining the musculoskeletal system with ultrasound. Among the more common reasons:

  • Shoulder pain, including rotator cuff tears, tendinitis and bursitis
  • Elbow pain including tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, biceps tears, ligament tears and joint fluid
  • Wrist and hand pain, including carpal tunnel syndrome, ganglion cysts and tendinitis
  • Hip and knee pain, including muscle and tendon tears, tendinitis and knee fluid
  • Foot and ankle pain, including Achilles tendon problems, other ankle tendon problems, sprains, plantar fasciitis and Morton's neuroma
  • Treatment of joint pain with steroid injections in shoulder, hip, knee or ankles
  • Treatment of Achilles tendon pain, shoulder calcific tendonitis, bursitis, plantar fasciitis
  • Diagnose and treat sports related injuries including joint, muscle, ligament, and tendon tears and sprains.

What Can I Expect Before My Exam?

If you are having an abdominal ultrasound please do not eat or drink anything for at least four hours before your exam.

Medications may be taken with water.

If you are having a pelvic ultrasound, you are not required to drink water.

What Can I Expect During my Exam?

Upon your arrival you will be greeted by the ultrasound technologist. You will be brought into the ultrasound room where you may be asked to change into a gown.

You will be asked a series of questions about your symptoms in order to optimize your ultrasound exam.
You will then lie down on a stretcher and ultrasound gel will be applied to the area to be imaged. The ultrasound instrument (also called a transducer) will be moved over your skin while the ultrasound technologist takes pictures. You may be asked to hold your breath or to turn on your side during the exam.

The average ultrasound exam takes about 30 - 45 minutes. You should expect to be in our department for about one hour.

What Can I Expect After My Exam?

You have no restrictions after having your ultrasound and can go about your normal daily activities.

When Can I Expect my Results?

Once the radiologist reads your images, your ordering physician will receive your results typically within 24 to 48 hours. Your physician will go over the findings with you.

To obtain copies of your images, please call the film library at 617-414-5882.

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