Ultrasound is an examination technique used to make still and live video pictures of the soft tissue structures of the body, such as the heart, digestive, reproductive or urinary tracts. Ultrasound is used to detect changes in appearance of organs, tissues and vessels or detect abnormal masses, such as tumors. Ultrasound is also used to monitor fetal growth and determine the age, weight and position of the fetus in the uterus.

What to expect

Ultrasound is performed as an outpatient procedure. An ultrasound technologist (called a sonographer) will apply a clear, water-based gel to the area of your body to be examined. The sonogapher will guide a hand-held instrument, called a transducer, across the area being examined. Throughout the examination, the sonographer will capture still images of the area for a radiologist to interpret. Your doctor will discuss the results of the ultrasound with you.

In some ultrasound studies, the transducer is attached to a probe and inserted into a natural opening in the body. Winneshiek Medical Center offers the:

  • Transvaginal ultrasound – The transducer is inserted into a woman’s vagina to view the uterus and ovaries.

Depending on the area to be examined, your doctor may provide special instructions to prepare for the exam. The procedure is painless with no short- or long-term side effects. Depending on the exam, an ultrasound will last 30-60 minutes.

Commonly asked questions
When will I receive my results?

  • Your doctor should contact you within 2-3 working days. Feel free to contact their office if you do not hear from them.

Is radiation used during an ultrasound?

  • No, ultrasound uses sound waves to obtain images.

In This Section

Return to Medical Imaging