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Ultrasound

ULTRASOUND

Ultrasound is offered at all our practices.

Ultrasound is a diagnostic imaging technique, which produces detailed images of some parts of the body using high frequency sound waves (much higher than human hearing can detect). Ultrasound scanning was developed from the SONAR mapping used by submarines. The sound is produced by a small hand-held device known as an ultrasound probe (transducer), which is placed on the skin of the patient. Gel is put on the skin surface under the probe to help the sound waves enter the body. The reflected sound waves are detected by the probe and used to create a computer image that is displayed on the screen of the ultrasound machine.

Ultrasound can gain information about a variety of medical conditions, including: pregnancy, gallstones, and varicose veins. An ultrasound that shows blood flow may also be called a Doppler, Colour Flow Doppler or Duplex Scan.

Ultrasound cannot be used to obtain images from any part of the body obscured by gas or bone. Imaging is best in the lower pelvis and upper abdomen, the musculo-skeletal system, the breasts (for some breast abnormalities), parts of the male reproductive system, the kidneys and bladder, the thyroid, the gall bladder and pancreas, the uterus in pregnancy (for foetal development), and the blood vessel (vascular) system.

About your examination

A standard ultrasound examination takes approximately 30 minutes but may take up to one hour. Your name and date of birth will be checked prior to your examination. You will then be escorted to a dimly lit ultrasound room (the room needs to have low light to reduce glare on the ultrasound TV monitor). You will then either be asked to lie down on a bed or sit on a chair. The sonographer will explain the examination procedure to you before acquiring the necessary images.

During the examination, you will neither be aware of the sound waves nor hear them; there should be no discomfort except perhaps for some pressure on the skin from the transducer. A sonographer specialises in acquiring the images; these are interpreted and reported by the radiologist. The radiologist will often enter the room and assess the images while you are there. You will sign a bulk bill Medicare form once the examination has been completed.

Interventional Ultrasound Procedures

You may have been referred for an interventional procedure, such as a steroid injection, contrast injection, biopsy, or aspiration. The sonographer will explain the procedure to you. The radiologist will perform the interventional procedure after your consent is obtained. Strict sterile procedures will always be applied at our practices to maintain infection control.

We often use local anaesthesia along with our injections, but you may decline this.

Recognised complications of interventional ultrasound procedures include bruising or infection after any needle puncture. Please consult your doctor if there is redness, heat, or pain at the injection site after the procedure.

Female Pelvic Ultrasound

You may request for a female sonographer for this examination.

A scan will be done through a full bladder. For some investigations, a further scan with a transducer placed in the vagina (a transvaginal ultrasound) may be required. This method is employed when visualisation of the pelvic organs by the scan performed through the full bladder is incomplete. A transvaginal ultrasound can be superior to a pelvic scan conducted through the bladder. The closer the probe is to the area of interest, the clearer and more detailed the images.

A transvaginal ultrasound is at your discretion; you are under no obligation to have this scan and it will only be performed once you have been advised and have consented.

The sonographer will explain the procedure to you. A sterilized probe with a protective sheath and sterile gel is inserted into the vagina, and is then manipulated gently to assess the pelvic organs.

Preparing For Your Ultrasound

Bring your request form, Medicare card and all old X-rays, scans, reports and films every time you visit us.

Preparation varies depending on the type of examination. You may be asked to either fast from food, or have a full bladder prior to your examination. Many examinations do not require any preparation. You will be told what preparation is required at the time of making your appointment. You are welcome to ask questions regarding your examination.

  • Ultrasound Upper Abdomen Nothing to eat, drink or smoke for 6 hours before appointment.
  • Ultrasound of renal organs, pelvis, or in early pregnancy: Full bladder required.Drink 1L of water, to be finished 1 hour before appointment.

Ultrasound Risk

The sound energy used is absorbed by the body, as minute amounts of heat. However, the energy levels used for diagnostic imaging do not produce noticeable warming effects inside the body. There are no known harmful effects at the levels used, however excessive scanning of the growing foetus is not recommended. Studies have shown ultrasound to be a safe technique with no harmful side effects. It can be performed on a wide range of body parts. Ultrasound does not produce radiation.

Ultrasound Cost

Imaging excellence and affordability are the cornerstones of our business. To meet this commitment, we BULK BILL all Medicare eligibile ultrasound scans. Bulk billing means no gap payment and no large, unexpected out of pocket expense. Please check if your scan is eligible when booking. Medicare guidelines are very specific about which examinations are covered under the Medicare schedule.

It’s your choice where you have your Scan or Xray. Call us with any practice’s Imaging request form for an appointment. If your doctor has requested an X-ray or scan, you can use our request form at any radiology practice.

Sometimes your doctor may require traditional large-format plastic images. If this is the case, let us know and we will print plastic images for you – a surcharge applies for these copies.

Ultrasound Results

One of our experienced radiologist will interpret and report on the ultrasound images. The results will be sent to your referring doctor. As the images are digital they will be kept on our computer system for future reference. You should always discuss the results with your doctor.

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