Ultrasound or sonograms use high-frequency sound waves that are transmitted through skin tissues to create an image. A gel is applied to the skin, and a transducer is moved over the skin to create an image, much like sonar looks at the bottom of the ocean.

Ultrasound can be used to evaluate many different areas of the body and also to evaluate blood circulation in different areas. In addition, ultrasound can be used to guide needles for biopsies.


  • Abdomen – Nothing to eat after midnight the night before the procedure.
  • Pelvic – (4) 8-ounce glasses of water, one hour prior to appointment. DO NOT use the restroom. A full bladder is important to get the clearest images.
  • Kidney/Bladder – (2) 8-ounce glasses of water one hour prior. DO NOT USE the restroom.
  • Breast/Aorta/Thyroid – No preparation required.
  • Thoracentesis/Paracentesis – If on blood thinners, you will need lab work. Please consult your ordering physician.
  • Breast Cyst Aspiration – No preparation required.
  • Hysterosonogram – No preparation; must be done within 7–10 days of the first day of menstrual cycle.
  • Pregnancy – (2) 8-ounce glasses of water, one hour before exam. DO NOT use the restroom.
  • Vascular (Vein) Studies – Must be done in the afternoon. DO NOT wear compression stockings on the day of the exam.