I was quite taken aback when I was prescribed an ultrasound test for a chronic stomach ache. Like most people, I was unaware that ultrasound scans could look into something as insignificant as abdominal pain.
But several years and quite a few scans later, I have a better understanding and know what to expect during the procedure.
Here I share some important facts about ultrasound tests that you’ll find particularly useful, especially if you’re going to have your first scan soon.
Doctors Prescribe Ultrasound Tests Routinely
Some patients panic at the thought of ultrasound tests. They assume there’s something grossly wrong with their health that prompted the doctor to prescribe a sonogram.
You should know that ultrasound tests are routinely performed. If you’ve been advised to go for an ultrasound check-up, the purpose could be a basic medical investigation for abdominal issues like incontinence, gall bladder stone, kidney stone or fetal wellbeing.
Don’t worry about your health until you receive the results.
You Don’t Always Need A Full Bladder For An Ultrasound Test
If you’re going for an early pregnancy ultrasound or an ultrasound to investigate the presence of kidney stones, you’d be instructed to drink plenty of water before getting the test done.
Usually, ultrasound tests are performed on a full bladder, but that’s not always the case. Advanced pregnancy, for instance, doesn’t require full bladder scans.
So don’t get uncomfortable holding against the urge to go, if it’s not necessary.
Likewise, you don’t need to fast for an ultrasound scan. Also don’t forget that a heavy meal may just make you uncomfortable during the scan, especially if you’re pregnant. Just eat a light snack to be on the safe side.
Ultrasound Tests Are Not A Health Risk
There’s no health risk in undergoing an ultrasound scan. Any myths about the harm to the pregnant lady or the baby are absolute gibberish.
Your test should be performed by a qualified technician. The test center should be hygienic and have the latest ultrasound machines. Siemens ultrasound machines are amongst the most preferred technology in ultrasound imaging because they can be trusted for accurate results and patient safety.
Your Ultrasound Test Can Take A Long Time
One of the lesser-known facts about ultrasound scans is that an average test can take very long, sometimes even half-hour or an hour.
The time depends on the condition for which the test has been advised. Sometimes, the problem is quick to spot and the test will be done within 10-15 mins. But otherwise, the technician might take a long time to make a thorough investigation.
Advanced pregnancy scans take longer because the technician needs to check on several specifics.
Pregnancy Ultrasound Test Results Are Not Always Accurate
The latest ultrasound machines are equipped with the latest technology and are highly reliable. The imaging is quite accurate but there is room for slight error.
When you get a pregnancy scan, your test report will indicate the margin of error too, wherever applicable.
Your doctor is qualified to interpret the results and give you a realistic assessment of your condition. Don’t try to make assumptions or jump to conclusions based on the test results alone.
You should also know that in rare cases the gender-reveal scan has also gone wrong. So why not keep the gender of your baby a surprise anyway?
Your Pregnancy Ultrasound Test Maybe Invasive
Most ultrasound scans are non-invasive, but an early pregnancy scan may be an exception.
That’s because when the fetus is too small, the abdominal ultrasound scanning performed externally doesn’t give a clear picture. In this case, you’ll be prescribed a transvaginal scan.
Most early pregnancy scans have to be performed internally for conclusive results. If this is your first pregnancy scan, be prepared!
The Bottom Line
Medical procedures can be very technical and confusing. Patients undergoing any medical investigation for the first time are often ignorant of the basic facts.
It’s good that you’ve landed on this post to know more about ultrasound tests. With the information shared here, you’ll feel more comfortable at the test center.