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In an ultrasound procedure, high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) are transmitted to tissues or organs and make echoes.


The echo patterns create a visual image (sonogram) of the tissues and organs under examination. Most ultrasound images are obtained by gently pressing and rolling a handheld transducer (probe) over areas of the body with a warm gel utilized to improve sound wave propagation.

Here are some of the procedures where Ultrasound is used:

  • General diagnostic ultrasound is used by all radiologists to obtain diagnostic and function information related to organs in your body. It is primarily used to evaluate the pelvic region, abdomen, breast, testicles, prostate and thyroid glands.
  • Renal (kidney) ultrasound is used to identify tumors and other medical problems with the kidneys.
  • Obstetrical ultrasound is used to obtain images and corresponding measurements to measure growth and evaluate the anatomic and physiological characteristics of the developing fetus.

The clinical staff in the Department of Ultrasound provides a broad spectrum of routine and specialized sonographic procedures. In addition to the full range of standard procedures, the department offers exams such as image-guided biopsy procedures, high resolution imaging of the breast, thyroid and other specialized examinations.

Our sonographers are certified by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS) and our department is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR). Board certified radiologists interpret all ultrasound examinations.

ACR UltrasoundThe Hartford Hospital Imaging Center is accredited by the American College of Radiology for ultrasound.


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Patient Resources

To best visualize images, ultrasound examinations are performed in a dimly lit room. Images and information are collected by a registered sonographer (technologist) and interpreted by a board certified radiologist. No ionizing radiation is employed. Therefore, the technology is safe and is frequently used in pregnancy and pediatrics.

Or most common ultrasounds are:

  • Abdomen
  • Abdominal Doppler
  • Liver Transplant
  • Kidney Transplant
  • Renal (kidney)
  • Thyroid
  • Scrotum
  • Pelvic

Please read the preparation instructions for the following types of ultrasounds:

Abdominal Ultrasound / Liver Transplant:

  • Eat a fat-free dinner the night before your exam, but do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
  • A small amount of clear liquid may be taken with oral medication if needed before your appointment. Morning appointments are recommended.
  • No preparation is required for hernia ultrasound.
  • Arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time to register for your test.
  • Plan for about 45 minutes to complete your exam.

Pelvic Ultrasound:

  • A full bladder is essential for adequate visualization of the uterus and ovaries. Please empty bladder and then drink 32 ounces of water an hour and a half prior to your appointment time. Do not empty your bladder after you drink the water.
  • Arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time to register for your test.
  • Plan for about 45 minutes to complete your exam.

Breast Ultrasound / Breast Biopsy

A breast biopsy is a test in which a sample of tissue is taken from your breast. The breast tissue is checked in a lab for cancer cells. Breast ultrasound uses sound waves to make a computer picture of the inside of the breast. It can show certain breast changes, like fluid-filled cysts, that are harder to identify on mammograms.

Interventional Ultrasound Procedures

The ultrasound department also performs a wide variety of ultrasound guided interventional procedures. The most common include:

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    Bone densitometry, also called dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, DEXA or DXA, uses a very small dose of ionizing radiation to measure bone loss.

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  • General Diagnostic Radiology

    General Diagnostic Radiology includes evaluation of the chest, spine, skull, extremities, hips, pelvis and abdomen. General diagnostic radiology is often used to evaluate suspected fracture or other indications of injury or abnormality.

  • Interventional Radiology

    The Department of Interventional Radiology and Neuroimaging’s staff physicians have all received specialized training and are all certified by the American Board of Radiology.

  • Mammography

    A mammogram is used to evaluate an abnormal clinical finding, such as a breast lump, that has been found by a woman or her physician.

  • MRI

    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology is unrivaled in its ability to produce high resolution images of soft tissue and structural anatomy.

  • Nuclear Medicine

    Nuclear medicine is a safe and painless imaging technology that uses small amounts of specially-formulated radioactive materials (tracers) to help diagnose and treat a variety of diseases.

  • PET Scan

    PET/CT combines the functional information from a positron emission tomography (PET) exam with the anatomical information from a computed tomography (CT) exam into one single exam.

  • Ultrasound

    In an ultrasound procedure, high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) are transmitted to tissues or organs and make echoes.