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This patient information aims to answer some of the questions you may have about having an ultrasound scan. It explains the benefits, risks and alternatives to the procedure. It explains what you can expect when you come to hospital. If you have any further questions please speak to your consultant or the imaging department.
What is an ultrasound scan?
An ultrasound scan is a safe and painless test that creates images of organs, glands, abnormal lumps and other structures like muscles, tendons and joints. Images are created using sound waves and there is no radiation. Ultrasound can help to determine the size, shape and consistency of organs, structures and abnormalities.
Asking for your consent
The clinical team will ask you if you are happy for the scan to go ahead (verbal consent). If you do not wish to have this scan or are undecided, please tell the clinical team. It is your decision and you can change your mind at any time. Please remember that you can ask the clinical team any questions you have at any time.
What happens during the scan?
A healthcare assistant will collect you from the waiting room to take you through to your scan where they will confirm your details. You may be asked to change into a gown. They will confirm your details with you such as your name some details with you, such as your name and date of birth.
You will then be asked to lie on a couch next to the ultrasound machine. The radiologist will then put some ultrasound gel on the part of the body being examined.
They will then sit alongside you, put the ultrasound probe on top of the gel and move it slowly around the part of your body that needs scanning.
How long will the scan take?
Ultrasound scans can vary between 15 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on the body part being scanned. Our imaging secretaries will be able to provide you with a more accurate estimate of your scan duration upon booking.
How to prepare for the scan
Depending on the part of your body being scanned, your referring doctor and/or our imaging secretaries should have advised you on how to prepare for your scan. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call your referring doctor’s secretary or our imaging department directly.
When will I get my results?
Your doctor will explain their findings to you before sending an official report to your referring doctor within 48 hours.
Will there be anyone with me during the scan?
A healthcare assistant and radiologist will talk to you through what’s going on during the procedure. You can have a parent/ guardian or carer with you when having your ultrasound scan. A chaperone can also be made available upon request
Can I bring my children?
We do not have childcare facilities and children cannot go into the scan room with you.
If you need to bring your children with you, please bring an adult who can look after them while you are having the examination, without a supervising adult your scan will need to be rebooked
Please contact the Imaging team about any general concerns on 0207 467 4317. However, if you experience any symptoms of concern please contact your GP or go to your local Emergency Department (A&E).
Your comments and concerns
If you have any questions or concerns about your medicines, please speak to the staff caring for you. For support or advice please speak to your consultant or the Imaging department on 0207 467 4317.
Language and accessible support services
If you need an interpreter, information about your care in a different language or format or additional support needs, please get in touch with us before your arrival