Wesley Medical Center provides patients with ultrasound testing and imaging services at four convenient locations in the Wichita area. Our physicians and medical staff are dedicated to making each patient feel safe, comfortable and well-cared for during their exam. Patients can easily make an appointment at any one of our facilities.

What is an ultrasound?

An ultrasound is a medical test that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce high-quality images of the body. An ultrasound is a safe, painless imaging test that can be used to diagnose many different health conditions. In addition to examining the baby in pregnant women, an ultrasound has a variety of medical uses. An ultrasound may be used to evaluate conditions like aneurysms, blood clots and abnormal growth or disease. An ultrasound can also diagnose heart conditions and assess the damage after a heart attack.

First, Second and Third Trimester Ultrasounds for Pregnant Women

In pregnant women, the purpose and function of an ultrasound depends on the stage of the pregnancy:

  • First Trimester Ultrasound — An ultrasound during the first trimester can confirm the presence of an intrauterine pregnancy, evaluate a suspected ectopic pregnancy, evaluate vaginal bleeding or pelvic pain, estimate gestational age of the fetus and determine multiple gestations (twins, triplets, etc.). An ultrasound during the first trimester can also diagnose fetal anomalies in high-risk patients, screen for fetal aneuploidy (abnormal chromosomes), and alert doctors about other health issues related to pregnancy or the health of your baby.
  • Second and Third Trimester Ultrasounds — In addition to the medical issues listed above, an ultrasound during the second or third trimester can determine the presentation of the fetus (breech, head down, transverse), evaluate a pelvic mass during pregnancy, detect uterine abnormalities, and check for any medical problems that may arise during the final stages of pregnancy.

Common Medical Uses for Ultrasound

An ultrasound is often used to diagnose and treat a wide array of medical conditions, including but not limited to:

  • Gynecological conditions in non-pregnant women (like evaluating irregular vaginal bleeding)
  • Pain, swelling or infection in the body
  • Examining internal organs, such as:
    • Heart and blood vessels
    • Gallbladder
    • Spleen
    • Pancreas
    • Kidneys
    • Bladder
    • Thyroid and parathyroid glands
    • Scrotum (testicles)
  • An ultrasound is also used to examine the brain, hips and spine in infants.

Frequently Asked Questions about Ultrasound

Does an ultrasound use radiation? What are the risks?

An ultrasound is a safe and painless imaging test that does not use ionizing radiation (which is used for X-rays). A patient is not exposed to radiation during an ultrasound. For a standard diagnostic ultrasound, there are no known medical risks to the patient.

When will I get my results?

A radiologist will interpret and review the images produced from the ultrasound and send a report to your doctor within a few business days. Your physician will contact you about your results. In some cases, the radiologist will discuss the results with you immediately following the ultrasound.

How long does an ultrasound take?

Most ultrasound tests take about 30 minutes, but sometimes an ultrasound might take an hour.

Why do I need an ultrasound and not an X-ray?

An ultrasound can provide a clearer picture of soft tissues that do not show up well on an X-ray. An ultrasound is the preferred method for diagnosing and monitoring pregnant women and unborn babies in the womb. Ultrasound is a very safe exam that is also used during minimally-invasive procedures, such as needle biopsies, Paracentesis and Thoracentesis.

Preparing for Your Ultrasound

Depending on the type of ultrasound you are scheduled for, patients might be required to not eat or drink anything a full 12 hours prior to your appointment. Some patients may be asked to drink up to six glasses of water two hours before the exam, so that their bladder is full when the ultrasound begins.

During the ultrasound, the patient lies face-up on an examination table while a radiologist or sonographer applies a warm, water-based gel to the area of the body being looked at. The gel helps the transducer secure itself to the body and eliminates air pockets between the transducer and the skin (which can block the sound waves passing into the body). The transducer is moved back and forth until the images needed are captured.