Ultrasound Imaging

Count on radiology technicians and doctors at Essentia Health for accurate ultrasound imaging. Getting an ultrasound can help your doctor diagnose a health condition and develop a treatment plan.

What’s Ultrasound Imaging?

Ultrasound imaging—or sonography—uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of organs and other soft tissue structures inside your body. The test doesn’t use any radiation and is quick, noninvasive, and painless

When is Ultrasound Used?

Your doctor may recommend an ultrasound to:

  • Investigate causes of pain, swelling, or infection
  • Diagnose certain muscle, tendon, and ligament conditions (musculoskeletal ultrasound)
  • Examine internal organs
  • Evaluate blood flow in your veins and arteries (Doppler ultrasound)
  • Diagnose breast cancer (breast ultrasound)
  • Diagnose heart conditions or assess damage after a heart attack (echocardiogram)
  • Guide minimally invasive procedures, such as needle biopsies and cortisone injections
  • Monitor the development of an unborn baby during pregnancy

What to Expect During an Ultrasound

Most ultrasound exams take 30 minutes or less. Ultrasounds are painless and noninvasive—they don’t involve any needles or injections. You’ll be able to go back to your daily activities immediately after the test.

For most types of ultrasound exams, you’ll lie on a table. You may lie on your back or on your side depending on the area your doctor will examine. Your doctor or sonographer will apply warm gel to the area being examined and gently move a small, handheld device called a transducer across your skin.

For some ultrasound tests, the transducer is attached to a probe so your doctor can get a better view of certain internal organs, such as the heart, prostate, uterus, or ovaries. Most ultrasound exams take 30 minutes or less.

Your Ultrasound Results

Count on the radiologists at Essentia to accurately read your ultrasound pictures and share the results with your primary care or referring physician. Your doctor will talk to you about the results.