An ultrasound scanner uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of internal organs shown on a computer screen. Ultrasound scanning is commonly used in pregnancy but is also useful to assess soft tissue lumps, identify muscle and tendon and ligament injuries and evaluate fluid and inflammation in the joints.
At Midland Health, we have a team of experienced consultant radiologists and sonographers who perform all ultrasound scans. Our state-of-the-art facilities in Birmingham include private examination rooms where you will be surrounded by a calm and relaxing atmosphere. Our ultrasound specialists will be there to put you at ease and answer any questions you may have before, during and after the procedure.
Painless and risk-free, the general ultrasound is a reliable diagnostic tool that will allow your doctor to assess your condition and provide you with an effective treatment plan. With appointments available on short notice and ultrasound results usually ready the same day, we can give you clarity and decide on the next steps to help you feel better with no waiting time.
Book your general ultrasound appointment* at Midland Health today.
* Please note: We do not offer head and neck ultrasounds- we can offer a GP consultation to be referred to one of our partner clinics
Our range of ultrasound services
An ultrasound may be recommended by your GP as the best way to diagnose certain conditions such as gallbladder disease, joint inflammation, breast cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid gland dysfunction, general genital problems and liver disease.
In our private Birmingham-based clinic, we offer a wide range of ultrasound services, including:
- Abdomen ultrasound: With an abdominal ultrasound, we can detect a number of issues including fatty liver disease, bladder stones, pancreatitis and cancer
- Hernia ultrasound: A hernia ultrasound helps confirm a hernia diagnosis and assess the severity of the condition so an appropriate treatment plan can be made
- Kidney ultrasound: Performing a kidney (renal) ultrasound is used to detect infection, tumours, cysts, abscesses, fluid collection, and obstructions by examining the size, shape and location of your left and right kidney
- Testes ultrasound: Ultrasound imaging of the scrotum is a safe and painless diagnostic procedure used to identify the causes of pain and lumps in the testes, as well as to evaluate infertility issues
- Lumps & Bumps ultrasound: If you are worried about lumps and bumps anywhere on your body, we can perform an ultrasound scan to diagnose the cause of these abnormalities
What to expect from your general ultrasound examination
The ultrasound scan procedure is painless and most require no preparation; with Midland Health, our GPs will put you at ease and talk you through every step of the way. The entire exam usually takes about 30 minutes. Here’s what to expect before, during and after the scan.
Before the procedure
Once you arrive, you will be invited into one of our private examination rooms. To prepare for the exams, you may be asked to remove your clothing. You will then be asked to lie down or sit down comfortably on a couch with drapes to protect your dignity. The lights in the room will be dimmed before the examination begins so our sonographer can see the ultrasound image more clearly on the screen.
During the procedure
The ultrasound specialist will apply a water-based gel to the examined area which may feel a little cold. Then, a hand-held device called a transducer will be applied to the area. This device sends high-frequency waves into the body and listens for the responding echo sound. Based on the information received, an ultrasound image is produced by a computer and appears on the screen in real-time.
The ultrasound waves are inaudible to the human ear so you won’t hear any noise. You may feel a little pressure when the transducer is moved across the surface of the skin which can cause a little discomfort. However, the procedure is completely painless.
After the procedure
Once the scan is complete, the gel will be wiped off and you will be asked to change back into your clothing in private. Then, our consultant radiographer will talk to you about the next steps, as well as how and when you will receive your results. After this, you will be allowed to go home immediately.
For some conditions, it may be suggested you have an ultrasound-guided injection. This procedure involves a local anaesthetic, so you will not be able to drive home after an appointment.
If you have any questions or concerns about an ultrasound that has been recommended, contact your Midland Health GP who will be happy to talk things through.
Prices from £150 for a single area ultrasound.
What is a general ultrasound examination?
An ultrasound scan is an imaging procedure used to examine the soft tissues, organs and blood flow. It is performed using an ultrasound machine that sends and receives inaudible sound waves to and from various internal parts of the body.
What does the equipment look like?
Ultrasound machines are made up of three main components – a computer console, video monitor and a small hand-held device called a transducer. For some specific types of ultrasound scans, a probe is also attached to the transducer to access organs via a body cavity.
- In a transesophageal echocardiogram, a probe is inserted into the oesophagus to make ultrasound images of the heart
- To examine the prostate, your doctor may perform a transrectal ultrasound which involves inserting a probe into the rectum
- A transvaginal ultrasound can be used to obtain clear images of the uterus and ovaries by inserting a probe into the vagina
How does the ultrasound procedure work?
The transducer sends high-frequency sound waves into the examined area of the body and transmits the echoing (return) sound back to the computer. The computer registers the frequency and amplitude of the sound waves and interprets the information in the context of the type of tissue to produce a real-time image of the area which is displayed on the video monitor. This is the same principle used by sonars on boats and ships.
The ultrasound machine can determine how far echo waves have travelled to calculate the location of the examined object and it can also provide information about its size, consistency and shape. Our specialist sonographers can use this imaging technique to detect abnormalities such as fluid retention, infection, cysts and tumours.
Do I need to do anything to prepare for the scan?
General ultrasounds don’t require any preparation. Sometimes, depending on the procedure, you may be asked to drink 4-6 glasses of water an hour before the scan or to stop eating or drinking up to 12 hours before the scan.
Also, it’s advised to wear comfortable, loose clothing to provide easy access to the area that will be examined. In some cases, you may be asked to remove clothing and we would use drapes to respect your dignity.
What does the procedure feel like?
During an ultrasound scan, you may occasionally experience some slight discomfort but the procedure is generally painless.
How long does the procedure last?
A general ultrasound usually takes no longer than 30 minutes but in some cases, it may take up to one hour.
When will I get my general ultrasound results?
Usually, ultrasound results are available the same day to discuss with your doctor. The report will be shared with the requesting doctor.
What are the benefits of doing a general ultrasound?
Ultrasound scanning is one of the most widely used diagnostic imaging techniques due to its numerous advantages. The procedure is:
- Safe and uses no radiation (unlike X-rays)
- Safe for expectant mothers and their unborn babies
- Done in real time
- Less expensive
- Capable of producing clear soft tissue images that can’t be achieved by an X-ray
What are the disadvantages of an ultrasound scan?
The ultrasound procedure has several limitations, so it is not recommended for examining:
- Air-filled lungs or bowels as the imaging can be affected by air or gas
- Bone structures as the sound cannot penetrate bones; an MRI is preferred in this scenario
- Overweight patients as the thickness of the soft tissue may weaken the soundwaves
Are there any risks associated with ultrasound scanning?
No, there currently are no known negative effects of ultrasound scans on the human body.
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