Lady having an ultrasound.

Images from a contrast enhanced ultrasound of the liver.

Images from a contrast enhanced ultrasound of the liver.

An image from an ultrasound scan of the carotid arteries

An image from an ultrasound scan of the carotid arteries

What is it?

Ultrasound (US, also called “sonography”) is an imaging technique where very high frequency sound is used to build up an image of soft tissues beneath the probe. The Radiologist will apply some jelly to the part being scanned which allows the ultrasound beam to penetrate through the skin and create the image. Ultrasound is a “real time” imaging modality, where movement is seen in real time on the screen. It is available at all our local hospitals.

Who will perform my test?

All ultrasound scans undertaken by our group are performed by a Consultant Radiologist rather than a technician. This allows the patient to discuss fully the results of the scan and any treatment implications.
For intimate studies, (breast, gynaecological, testes or prostate) we aim to provide the patient with their choice of either a male or female Consultant.

What is it used for?

Routine studies: Ultrasound is a routinely used as the first line of investigation for a wide variety of conditions. It is typically used in the investigation of abdominal or pelvic pain. It is routinely used in gynaecological assessment using both transabdominal and internal (transvaginal) probes.

US is the best tool for assessing the testes, thyroid gland and lumps in the neck. It is particularly useful in the assessment of large blood vessels in the body.

US is extensively used in both Sports imaging and Breast Imaging

Specialist studies: In conditions requiring a biopsy, US is used by the Radiologist to obtain tissue samples safely and quickly – particularly in the liver, neck, breast and prostate gland.

The Kent and Sussex Radiology group are proud to offer cutting edge US techniques using “Microbubble” technology which require a small injection of a contrast agent into a vein. This allows an extremely detailed assessment of the liver providing a safe alternative to MR or CT scanning for the investigation of liver lesions in the correct clinical setting. Already well established in European radiology, especially in France, Germany and the Scandinavian countries, we have over 3 years experience and can offer the service on state of the art ultrasound machines.
We also use this technology is the assessment of some breast cancer patients. For further information click here (breast imaging)

What do I need to do before my test?

Many ultrasound studies require no preparation. Ultrasound scanning of the abdomen will normally require the patient to be fasted. Ultrasound scanning of the pelvis requires a full bladder and patients will be instructed to drink a moderate volume of water so that they have a relatively full bladder.

Are there any risks?

At the power levels used for diagnostic ultrasound, no identifiable risks are present. Adverse reaction to microbubble contrast agent is extremely rare.