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Ultrasound

Wentworth-Douglass Ultrasound department offers a full range of general ultrasound exams including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Obstetrical & gynecological
  • Abdomen & small parts
  • Pediatric exams
  • Biopsies, drainages, etc.

View our Commonly Ordered Ultrasound Procedures and Their Indications.

Once the ultrasound is complete, it will be interpreted by a Radiologist (a doctor who specializes in diagnostic imaging). A report will be created and sent to the ordering physician within 3 business days. The patient should obtain the results from the ordering physician. The technologist performing the exam can not provide test results. 

The ultrasound department is staffed by sonographers who are credentialed by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS) and is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

Some common procedures using Diagnostic Ultrasound:

Abdominal Ultrasound:
Preparation: Do not eat or drink 12 hours prior to your appointment time. Medication may be taken with a few sips of water only. If you are diabetic & have concerns regarding fasting, please contact the physician ordering the exam.

What will happen during the exam?
You will not need to get undressed unless you prefer to wear a gown or robe. The technologist will have ou lift up your shirt and possibly slide your pants down to expose only the abdomen. Patient privacy/discretion is maintained at all times. The sonographer will place warm ultrasound gel on your abdomen and move a wand over the abdomen, taking pictures. You may be asked to turn onto your sides and hold your breath during the exam, allowing for better quality images. An abdominal ultrasound can take from 25-45 minutes depending on what the ordering doctor has requested.

Abdominal & Pelvic Ultrasound:
Preparation:  Do not eat or drink 12 hours prior to your appointment time. For the pelvic portion of the exam, the bladder needs to full. Drink 32 ounces (1 quart) of water 1 ½ hours prior to your appointment time; finish all the water within the first 30 minutes. For the next hour your bladder will be filling, do not urinate or the exam may need to be rescheduled.

What will happen during the exam?
When having both an abdominal and pelvic ultrasound, the pelvic ultrasound will be done first so that you may empty your bladder as soon as possible. The sonographer will place warm ultrasound gel on your lower abdomen and move a wand over the area to evaluate pelvic structures. Once complete, you may empty your bladder (usually less than 10 minutes).

For female patients, if requested by your ordering doctor, the sonographer will perform a transvaginal ultrasound. This is a special way to evaluate your uterus/ovaries and pelvic structures by inserting a probe into the vagina. Patient privacy/discretion is maintained at all times. Most people feel some pressure, though it is not typically a painful exam.

Once your pelvic ultrasound is complete, the sonographer will examine your upper abdomen. This is done by placing warm gel on your abdomen and moving a wand back and forth. You may be asked to turn onto your side and hold your breath at certain points during the exam for the best quality images. The entire exam takes less than 90 minutes.

Pelvic Ultrasound:
Preparation: Drink 32 ounces (1 quart) of water 1 ½ hours prior to your appointment time; finish all the water within the first 30 minutes. For the next hour your bladder will be filling, do not urinate or the exam may need to be rescheduled.

What will happen during the exam?
The sonographer will place warm ultrasound gel on your lower abdomen and move a wand over the area to evaluate the uterus/ovaries/pelvic structures. Once complete, your are able to empty your bladder (usually less than 10 minutes).

For females, if requested by your ordering physician, the sonographer will perform a transvaginal ultrasound. This is a special way to evaluate your uterus/ovaries and pelvic structures by inserting a probe into the vagina. Patient privacy/discretion is maintained at all times. Most people feel some pressure, though it is not typically a painful exam. The entire exam takes less than 40 minutes.

Renal (kidney) Ultrasound:
Preparation: Drink 32 ounces (1 quart) of water 1 ½ hours prior to your appointment time; finish all the water within the first 30 minutes. For the next hour your bladder will be filling, do not urinate or the exam may need to be rescheduled.

What will happen during the exam?
The sonographer will place warm ultrasound gel on your abdomen and move a wand back & forth to take images of your kidneys and bladder. Patient privacy/discretion is maintained at all times. The patient may be asked to turn onto your side and hold your breath during the exam allowing for better quality images. The sonographer may take pictures of your  full bladder followed by additional images after your bladder has been emptied. The exam will take less than 30-40 minutes.

Testicular (scrotal) Ultrasound:
Preparation: None.

What will happen during the exam?
The sonographer will have you undress in private & provide a sheet to cover from the chest/abdomen down past your lap. Patient privacy/discretion is maintained at all times. The sonographer may place towels over and/or underneath your testicles to position them for better imaging. Next, warm ultrasound gel will be placed onto your testicles/scrotum and a wand will be moved back and forth to obtain images. Once the exam is complete, the sonographer will step out allowing you to clean up and dress in private. The exam takes 25-35 minutes.

Thyroid Ultrasound:
Preparation:  None.

What will happen during the exam?
The sonographer will have the patient lie on the examination table and if necessary, will place a pillow or towel under the neck. Next, warm ultrasound gel will be placed on the neck and the sonographer will move a small wand back & forth over the neck. The patient may be asked to turn the head to their right/left for better imaging. Patient privacy/discretion is maintained at all times. The exam takes less than 30 minutes.

Obstetrical Ultrasound:
Preparation: Drink 32 ounces (1 quart) of water 1 ½ hours prior to your appointment time; finish all the water within the first 30 minutes. For the next hour your bladder will be filling, do not urinate or the exam may need to be rescheduled. If you are in your third trimester there may be no requirement to drink water for the exam, please contact the Ultrasound Department directly for more information at (603) 740-2664, and press option 3 on the menu.

What will happen during the exam?
The sonographer will place warm ultrasound gel on your abdomen and move a wand back & forth to image the fetus and surrounding structures. Once this portion is complete you may empty her bladder. Depending on gestational age and whether the ordering doctor requested it, you may also have a transvaginal ultrasound. This is a special way to evaluate the uterus/fetus/ovaries by inserting a probe into the vagina. Patient privacy/discretion is maintained at all times. Most people feel some pressure, though it is not typically a painful exam. It is not harmful to the fetus. The entire exam takes less than 45 minutes.

Biophysical Profile (BPP):
Preparation: None.

What will happen during the exam?
A biophysical profile is done to evaluate certain aspects of the developing fetus. The sonographer will be watching the baby for certain types of movements & fetal breathing, as well as evaluating the amount of amniotic fluid, heart rate, and position of the baby. Because this exam is primarily about observing movement of the fetus, the duration is anywhere from 30-60 or more minutes. Patient privacy/discretion is maintained at all times.

Extremity, Neonatal Head, Infant Hips, Chest, Spinal Canal:
Preparation: None.

What will happen during the exam?
The sonographer will apply warm ultrasound gel to the area being examined and will move an ultrasound wand back & forth. Occasionally, the Radiologist (doctor who interprets the study) will scan as well. Patient privacy/discretion is maintained at all times.

Biopsies, Paracentesis/Thoracentesis, Drainages, etc.:
Preparation: Begin fasting 6 hours (solid food) and 2 hours (liquid) prior to the your appointment. **If you have diabetes controlled by medication, please call your physician for instruction. Our Radiology Nursing team will contact you in advance with additional instructions if necessary, as well as an arrival time. Please arrange for a ride home following the appointment. Exam times vary depending on the procedure; most exams are 1-1 ½ hours.

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Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100