For patients

General questions


Below are some general Questions and Answers regarding our procedures. You can also find information sheets as PDF downloads on individual procedures opposite.


What is Ultrasound Imaging?
Ultrasound is a non-invasive test that helps your doctor diagnose and treat your medical problem. By using very high frequency sound waves the ultrasound machine can form images of the inside of your body. For vascular ultrasound this involves creating images of the blood vessels within your body.


What does the equipment look like?
Ultrasound scanners consist of a console containing a computer and electronics, a video display screen and a transducer that is used to scan the body and blood vessels. The transducer is a small hand-held device that resembles a microphone, attached to the scanner by a cord. The transducer sends out high frequency sound waves into the body and then listens for the returning echoes from the tissues in the body. The principles are similar to sonar used by boats and submarines.

The ultrasound image is immediately visible on a nearby video display screen that looks much like a computer or television monitor. The image is created based on the amplitude (strength), frequency and time it takes for the sound signal to return from the patient to the transducer and the type of body structure the sound travels through.


How does the procedure work?
Ultrasound imaging is based on the same principles involved in the sonar used by bats, ships and fishermen. When a sound wave strikes an object, it bounces back, or echoes. By measuring these echo waves it is possible to determine how far away the object is and its size, shape, and consistency (whether the object is solid, filled with fluid or both).


In an ultrasound examination, a transducer both sends the sound waves and records the echoing waves. When the transducer is pressed against the skin, it directs small pulses of inaudible, high-frequency sound waves into the body. As the sound waves bounce off of internal organs, fluids and tissues, the sensitive microphone in the transducer records tiny changes in the sound's pitch and direction. These signature waves are instantly measured and displayed by a computer, which in turn creates a real-time picture on the monitor. One or more frames of the moving pictures are typically captured as still images.


How is the procedure performed?
Please download the PDF information sheet on the right hand side that applies to your procedure, for this information.


What will I experience during and after the procedure?
Most ultrasound examinations are painless, fast and easy. After you are positioned on the examination table, the sonographer will apply some cold water-based gel on your skin and then place the transducer firmly against your body, moving it back and forth over the area of interest. If scanning is performed over an area of tenderness, you may feel pressure or minor pain from the transducer.


Who interprets the results and how do I get them?

A sonographer specifically trained will analyse the images and send a report to the doctor who referred you for the exam, who will share the results with you.