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What is an ultrasound?

An ultrasound is an imaging test that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of internal organs and structures in your body. Rather than producing a static picture, ultrasounds show the structure and movement of the body’s internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.

What are some common reasons why an ultrasound may be performed?
An ultrasound is used to help diagnose and treat a variety of medical conditions. The types of ultrasounds include:

  • Abdominal
    • Examines organs and structures in your upper abdomen such as your liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, and kidneys.
  • Breast
    • Determines whether a lump is a cyst (fluid-filled sac) or a solid mass.
    • Locates the position of a known tumor.
  • Cranial
    • Examines the brain.
  • Doppler
    • Evaluates your blood as it travels through your arteries or veins.
  • Endoscopic
    • Evaluates your digestive tract.
  • Pelvic
    • Evaluates the bladder, ovaries, uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes of women.
    • Evaluates the bladder, prostate gland, and seminal vesicles of men.
  • Prostate
    • Evaluates abnormal results of a digital rectal exam or elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test.
  • Thoracentesis
    • Locates an area of excess fluid between your lungs and the wall of your chest.
  • Thyroid biopsy
    • Locates a nodule in your thyroid gland, allowing a sample of the nodule to be removed for biopsy.

How is an ultrasound performed?
You will be instructed about what to wear to your appointment, what to eat before the test, how the test will be performed, and how the test will feel.

A gel or oil is applied to your skin to help transmit high-frequency sound waves. A transducer is passed back and forth over the area of your body being examined. The reflected sound waves are then converted into a picture displayed on a TV screen. The picture produced by an ultrasound is called a sonogram, echogram, or an ultrasound scan.

How do I schedule an ultrasound?
An ultrasound can be performed at Sacred Heart Hospital and Sacred Heart Imaging Northampton, an affiliate of Sacred Heart HealthCare System.

To schedule an ultrasound at Sacred Heart Hospital, please call One Call Scheduling at 610-776-5180.

To schedule an ultrasound at Sacred Heart Imaging Northampton, please call 610-262-6622.

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