What you should do when you have an ultrasound exam

Whatever your problem is please do not arrive late, or been on time, you have to arrive at least 10 minutes before so the clerk can get your paper work and insurance started and register you in the system then change you and that takes time.

If you cannot make it to the exam please call and cancel, be responsible, reliable, respectful, as our health system is overwhelmed already and remember that other people are waiting to get exam and they would love to be booked early 

MRI exam these days has over 1 year waiting list, so the ultrasound exam can help you and your doctor in most cases in less time.

Remember that muscle and joints sonography / MSK is not stat exam are not stat or urgent in most cases so wait for your report to be sent to your doctor.

Please answer the question, when the sonographer ask you just answer him/ her so they can help you farther , tell them if you have any other issues such as gout, arthritis, lupus, psoriasis ,lime disease , thyroid problem, diabetes , high blood pressure, cholesterol problem  etc.

Try not to talk too much as the sonographer has only 20 to 25 minutes to finish your exam and if you distract him/her it will reduces their focus on the exam.

Please turnoff your cell phone .it is distracting to hear your phone rings with all different tones like who let the dog out phone ring.

Try not to bring your kids to the clinic or the exam room if they do not have ultrasound exam, they distract the sonographer and you expose them to UN necessary infections.

Remember that the ministry of health, AHS here in Alberta sent a letter few years ago to remind all the ultrasound clinics to not do any adult inguinal hernia exam if it was ordered by your family doctor and the order should come only from a surgeon ,or pediatrician.

 Don’t get upset if you are getting in the exam room few minutes late, most sonographers are efficient but sometimes they get difficult cases that require more time, so don’t get out and start complaining in Google, be responsible mature and kind individual .

Don’t ask for urgent or stat exam because you want to go overseas or on your vacation , try to book all your exams way ahead of time please.

 Don’t ask for the report, please note that only the radiologist is allowed by law to tell you and he/ she will send your report to you health provider in due time.

Don’t put the sonographer in trouble by telling your doctor that the technologists he/ she told you that you have this or that after your doctor tell you the exam report just listen to your doctor and don’t point fingers.

Some sonographers don’t put TV in the exam room because that might reveal the name of the other patients on the day list and that is privacy breech , and if it happened you see the page just turn your head.

Try not to chew gum, I know it is not food but it will create lots of abdominal gas that can affect your abdominal exam.

If you see the TV screen and the sonographer puts a word like fem don’t assume it is a female baby ,the sonographer might abbreviates this for the baby femur .

Try to wait until you see your doctor and let him/ her tell you the result.

Take a shower and dress proper please don’t come to the clinic with bad mouth hair, feet and body odder as there will be other patients after you and it will take time to spray the ultrasound room.

When you bring your family member that on wheel chair or have difficulty walking please stay with them and help the sonographer to move them on the ultrasound bed.

When the doctor sends you for one exam the sonographer cannot and have no time to do other exam that you wanted but your doctor didn’t order it or didn’t write it in the request form. Most clinics now in Alberta are not allowed to do more than tow MSK exams per patient per day excluding the shoulder exam that’s what AHS order and they will not pay the clinic if you want all your 4 or 5 MSK exams to be done same day it is not the clinic fault it the AHS and those who make the billing codes fault.

It is your right to ask for sonographers who are qualified and registered

By sonography Canada in their specialty, if you want an MSK ultrasound exam of the MUSCLES AND JOINTS you can ask if the sonographer has the RMSKS registry as it is the only approved exam at this time and that is the USA ARDMS exam as Canada do not have the MSK exam yet.

Don’t be rude or negative as this can stress the sonographer and that can affect his/her focus and might affect your exam.

Don’t forget to bring your request, your id and health card please.

You might get a reminder call as this is a routine thing for the quality control and patient care.

If you are sick with contagious disease, flu shingles etc please re-book your exam so you don’t expose other people to your virus, your exam can be done later in different date.

If they book your exam over the phone don’t tell them what you think you want or what ultrasound exam you need, they want to know exactly what your doctor ordered if he write foot ultrasound just say foot, don’t say ankle ultrasound because you feel that your ankle also painful, they just want to know what exactly the doctor order.

Don’t alter the request or check and add exam that your doctor didn’t order because you think it is also need it, this in illegal and they will find out as they will have an electronic copy later

These are some preparation for some ultrasound exams.

Tell them that you are a diabetic if you are, and they will let you take your medication and book you early so you can eat early after the exam.

Abdominal ultrasound

If you have a morning appointment, you must not have any solid or liquid food after midnight. If you have an afternoon appointment, you must not have any solid or liquid food during the 4 to 6 hours before the test. Most importantly, do not eat anything fatty on the morning of your exam. Also, do not chew gum as this will cause you to inhale air and will result in a poorer quality test. 

(YOU CAN TAKE YOUR MEDICATION, BUT WITH AS LITTLE WATER AS POSSIBLE.)

Pelvic ultrasound

Be sure to have a FULL BLADDER when you arrive for your appointment. You must have finished drinking 5 glasses of 8 ounces (960ml) of water or juice 75 minutes before your examination and you must not urinate. Try your best, come early as if you are too full they might ask you to empty a bit

Abdominal and pelvic ultrasound

If you have a morning appointment, you must not have any solid or liquid food after midnight. Do not chew gum. You must have finished drinking 4 glasses of 8 ounces (960ml) of water or juice 75 minutes before the test and must not urinate. Make sure you have a full bladder when you arrive for your appointment.

If you have an afternoon appointment, you must not have any solid or liquid food during the 4 to 6 hours before the test. Do not eat anything fatty on the day of the test. Do not chew gum. You must have finished drinking 4 glasses of 8 ounces (960ml) of water or juice 75 minutes before the test and must not urinate. Make sure you have a full bladder when you arrive for your appointment. 

(YOU CAN TAKE YOUR MEDICATION, BUT WITH AS LITTLE WATER AS POSSIBLE.)

Musculo-skeletal ultrasound, surface ultrasound, other ultrasound

No specific preparation is recommended before the exam. Make sure to be ready to remove and dressing or bandages etc.

Steve Ramsey, PhD

MSc medical ultrasound 

BSc diagnostic Imaging 

Calgary – Alberta 

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