Introduction

The Rutherford Diagnostics Centres house some of the most sophisticated and accurate diagnostic imaging technology available and our experienced team are passionate about the service they provide to patients and clinicians.

Patients and clinicians using Rutherford Diagnostics can expect a first-class, rapid diagnostic service with same-day appointment availability.

If your consultant/clinician/specialist has requested that you undergo an ultrasound scan. This webpage is designed to give you some information about the examination, to help you prepare for your scan appointment and to give you some idea of what to expect when you attend.

A sonographer or radiologist and a radiographic assistant will be responsible for ensuring your safety, comfort and care during the ultrasound scan and will be present to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Our diagnostic imaging services are accessible to self-pay patients, private patients under medical insurance (subject to authorisation) and NHS patients who are treated under our contract to Somerset NHS Foundation Trust.

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What is Ultrasound imaging?

An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the area of examination. This is a widely used diagnostic test to examine the organs and soft tissues of the body. The ultrasound is carried out by a sonographer or radiologist.

What does the equipment look like?

A small handheld probe is placed onto your skin and moved over the part of the body being examined. Lubricating gel is put onto your skin to allow the probe to move smoothly. If you are nervous about your ultrasound scan please speak to your sonographer or radiologist who will be able to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

How do you prepare for your Ultrasound scan?

This will depend on what body part we are imaging. Do not be worried if another patient has been asked to undergo a different preparation to you. This will vary depending on the reason for your scan. If any preparation is required, this information will be provided at the time of booking your appointment or in your appointment letter.

  • You may be asked to be starved or nil by mouth for 6 hours prior to the scan
  • You may be asked to drink a specified volume of water prior to your scan
  • If you are diabetic and worried about any preparation you asked to do, please contact the centre prior to your scan to discuss any concerns
  • Continue to take any medication prescribed by your doctor

Any questions about the scan preparation please do not hesitate to ask the sonographer, radiologist or radiographic assistant.

What happens before your Ultrasound scan?

When you arrive at the centre you should report to the reception desk where your personal details will be checked to ensure that our records are accurate and up to date. Your sonographer or radiologist will be able to explain the scanning procedure to you and answer any questions you may have.

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What to expect during the scan

A sonographer, radiologist or radiographic assistant will escort you to the ultrasound scan room and check your personal identification.

Depending on the body area being imaged you may be asked to change into a hospital gown or simply remove the clothing covering the body area being examined. You will meet the sonographer or radiologist who will be performing the scan and have chance to ask questions and discuss the reason for your visit. You will be asked to lie on a bed in the position required for your scan. Please let the staff know if you are uncomfortable, so they can help make the experience as comfortable for you as possible.

You will then have a clear lubricating gel applied to the skin on the area of examination. The sonographer or radiologist will slowly move the probe over the area while viewing the images produced on the monitor. The lights in the room will be dimmed so that the pictures on the screen can be seen more clearly. Once the examination is over, the gel will be wiped off and you will be free to dress.

Does it hurt?

You cannot feel ultrasound, however, it is important for the sonographer or radiologist to examine you in the correct position and to gently press down on the probe to enable a good scan of that body area. For some people this may be uncomfortable. However, if you do feel uncomfortable please inform the radiologist/ sonographer.

How long will it take?

You can expect to spend up to 30 minutes in the scanning suite. The scan itself takes between 10-30 minutes to complete but this will depend on the body part being scanned and the information your clinician requires.

After your scan has finished the sonographer or radiologist will be available to answer any questions you may have. You may leave immediately after the scan.
The radiologist/ sonographer will let you know when you will receive your results.

Can you make it?

If you have any queries or concerns regarding your ultrasound scan, are unable to attend your appointment, or wish to amend the appointment time, then please contact us by telephone as soon as possible.

Our phone lines are open 8am – 6pm Monday – Friday.

Our contact telephone number is: 01633 973 250

Further information

If you would like to know more about Ultrasound scans, please download our patient guide

The core imaging services Rutherford Diagnostics provides includes:

Computerised Tomography (CT) Scan

CT

A computerised tomography (CT) scan can be used to diagnose and guide treatment, using x-rays to create images of the inside of the body.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan

MRI

A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body.

Ultrasound

Ultrasound

An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of part of the body inside, this can be used to diagnose or guide treatment.

Digital X-ray

X-ray

Projection imaging, otherwise known as digital x-ray, creates two-dimensional images of the body at a particular moment in time.