Ultrasound Scan


An ultrasound is a safe and painless procedure that uses high frequency sound waves to create an image of part of the inside of the body, such as the heart. Ultrasound scans are commonly used during pregnancy to produce images of the baby in the womb.

Ultrasound scans can also be used

• In heart health to detect and potential problems
• Examine areas of the body such as the liver, kidneys and abdomen
• As a guide during surgery to aid a consultant performing certain types of biopsy

Ultrasound travels freely through fluid and soft tissues. However, ultrasound is reflected back (it bounces back as ‘echoes’) when it hits a more solid (dense) surface. For example, the ultrasound will travel freely through blood in a heart chamber. But, when it hits a solid valve, a lot of the ultrasound echoes back. Another example is that when ultrasound travels though bile in a gallbladder it will echo back strongly if it hits a solid gallstone.  So, as ultrasound ‘hits’ different structures of different density in the body, it sends back echoes of varying strength. These different echoes create the picture.


  • Arranging your Treatment

    Before going ahead with this treatment, you will need to have an initial consultation with a specialist Consultant to go through your medical history and diagnosis. At this appointment, your consultant will confirm the exact treatment you require.
    If you would like to have an initial consultation, you can call us and we can help you find the consultant best for you.

    Alternatively, if you have already been diagnosed as needing a particular operation or treatment, our Reservations team can give you a guide price for this to be carried out at KIMS Hospital and book an appointment for you to meet a consultant.
    Call our Reservations team on +44 (0) 1622 237 727 or email reservations@kims.org.uk.

  • Paying for your Treatment

    You can be treated at KIMS by using your private medical insurance or by paying for yourself.

    If you have private medical insurance, you will need to contact your insurer to ensure you are covered for the initial consultation prior to making an appointment and obtain an authorisation number. The insurance company will then need to be advised if you require further treatment. The insurance company usually settles bills on your behalf.
    If you are paying for your own treatment, you will need to pay for an initial consultation.

    This will be confirmed at the time of booking but is typically £150-£250. You will also need to pay for any associated diagnostic tests your consultant recommends (for example x-rays and blood tests).

    Following this consultation, if you don’t need any further treatment or if you decide paying for yourself isn’t the right option, there is no commitment to proceed further.
    If you require the operation or procedure to be carried out, you will receive a quote for your treatment. In most case this will be the fixed price package quoted on this website. If this quote is different for any reason, we will provide an explanation (see what’s included below). This quote is also subject to pre-assessment checks prior to your admission to hospital.

    Payment is required 7 days prior to admission.

An ultrasound scan can take up to 45 minutes to perform and is carried out in the imaging department.
During the procedure you will be asked to lie down while an operator places a probe on your skin over the part of your body to be examined. The probe looks like a very thick blunt pen. Lubricating jelly is put on your skin to ensure the probe makes good contact with your body. The probe is connected by a wire to the ultrasound machine, which is linked to a monitor. Pulses of ultrasound are sent from the probe through the skin into your body. The ultrasound waves then echo (‘bounce back’) from the various structures in the body.
The echoes are detected by the probe and are sent down the wire to the ultrasound machine. They are displayed as a picture on the monitor. The picture is a real; time image, the scan can show movement as well as structure. For example, the valves of a heart opening and closing during a scan of the heart. The operator moves the probe around over the surface of the skin to get views from different angles.
Generally there is no preparation for ultrasound scans. But for particular scans, you may be asked not to eat or drink for about 6 hours beforehand. If you are having your womb scanned, you will probably be asked to come to the appointment with a full bladder. This is because the full bladder pushes the womb up so it is in a position that is easier to scan. You may need a full bladder for a bladder scan too. There will be a toilet close by, so you will be able to empty your bladder as soon as the scan is over.
Sometimes, doctors need to put the ultrasound probe inside the body to get a clearer picture. Most often this is done for prostate or vagina scan.
Rectal ultrasound
If you are having your prostate gland examined, you have a rectal ultrasound. You will need to make sure you have had a bowel movement beforehand so your rectum is empty when you come for your appointment. A small ultrasound probe is put into your back passage to get a clearer picture of the prostate. This is obviously uncomfortable, but shouldn’t hurt.
Vaginal ultrasound
This is sometimes used to look at the ovaries or part of the womb. You will be asked to lie on your back with your knees bent and legs apart (as if you were having a smear test or an internal examination). If this position is difficult for you, you may be able to lie on your side with your knees drawn up to your chest. The doctor puts a small ultrasound probe into the vagina so that the ovaries can be seen on the scan. This may be uncomfortable, but shouldn’t hurt. This type of scan does not take long.
A record of the results of the test will be made as still pictures which will be analysed and a report sent to the referring doctor. The ultrasound will be carried out by a clinician who may feedback results during your procedure.

To find out more
If you would like to come to KIMS please contact our diagnostics team on +44(01622) 237 640 or email: diagnostics@kims.org.uk


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