Most ultrasounds take less than 30 minutes. The patient is positioned on an exam table. The exam is performed using an ultrasound probe, also called a transducer, a device that both emits and receives sound waves. It is attached to the ultrasound device.
To help the transducer make better contact with the patient’s skin, a clear gel is applied in the area to be examined. Based on reflected sound wave patterns, the ultrasound device generates and records images of the inside of the body as the technologist moves the transducer over the skin. The images, and sometimes motion video, are recorded so that a physician can read them and make a diagnostic interpretation.
RadiologyInfo, a website maintained jointly by the American College of Radiology and the Radiological Society of North America, includes a wealth of information, written with patients in mind, about ultrasound and its various diagnostic applications.