An ultrasound is an examination using high frequency sound waves to create images. Ultrasound does not involve radiation. The procedure is performed by a Sonographer.
How to Prepare?

Preparation for your procedure will depend on the type of ultrasound being done and the body area being scanned. Our most common examinations and preparations are listed below.

Abdominal Ultrasound

Assess the gallbladder, liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys and aorta.

Preparation: Fast (nil by mouth) for 4 hours prior to your appointment.  Different preparation for paediatric's - please ask our staff when booking an appointment.

Fetal or Obstetric Ultrasound

Evaluates the size and age of a fetus and assesses its growth, development and well being during pregnancy.

Fetal Ultrasound will detect some, but not all fetal abnormalities.

Preparation:  Drink 1 litre of water 1.5 hours prior to your appointment. Then do not empty your bladder.

Musculoskeletal or Breast Ultrasound

Assessment of muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and soft tissue throughout the body.

Preparation:  No preparation is required.

Pelvic or Transvaginal Ultrasound

Evaluates the uterus, ovaries and their surrounding anatomy. A pelvic US may require a specially designed transducer to be gently inserted into the vagina for more detailed images.

Preparation: Drink 1 litre of water 1.5 hours prior to your appointment.  Then do not empty your bladder.

Renal Ultrasound

Assess the kidneys and bladder. The prostate is also assessed in males.

Preparation: Fast from food for 4 hours prior to your appointment.  Drink 1 litre of water 1.5 hours prior to your appointment. Then do not empty your bladder.

Renal Artery Doppler Ultrasound

Evaluates the blood flow to the kidneys through the renal artery.

Preparation: These scans are performed in the morning. Please fast for 6 hours prior to your appointment.

Scrotal US

Evaluates abnormalities of the testicles and surrounding tissues.

Preparation: No special preparation is needed.

Thyroid Ultrasound

Evaluates the size of the thyroid gland and looks for thyroid nodules.

Preparation: No special preparation is needed.

Vascular or Carotid / Deep Vein Ultrasound

Evaluates the bodies circulatory system by monitoring the blood flow to organs and tissues throughout the body. Vascular US provides a non-invasive means to evaluate blockages to blood flow, such as clots in veins or plaque in arteries.

Preparation: No preparation is needed.

Paediatric Ultrasound

North Shore Radiology offers a dedicated paediatric ultrasound service. We have a number of radiologists who specialise in paediatric ultrasound imaging.

Our most common scans are:

  • Paediatric hips
  • Renal Ultrasound
  • Abdominal Ultrasound
  • Head Ultrasound
  • Lumps
  • Paediatric spines / dimples
  • Scrotal



0-3 years: no prepration unless pyloric stenosis

3-6 years:  2 hour fast

6-12 years: 3 hour fast

12 years and older: 4 hour fast


0-3years:  well hydrated

3-12yrs:  drink 500mls water/juice 30 mins prior to appointment

12-15 years: fast 3 hours, drink 500mls of water 30 mins prior to appointment and hold

15yrs and older:  fast 4 hours, drink 1 litre water 1 hour prior to appointment and hold

Paediatric Hips

Well fed prior to appointment

What to expect?

After you enter the examination room, the sonographer will ask you some brief questions concerning your medical history and current symptoms. You will be asked to lie on an examination table and the sonographer will apply a gel to the skin. A transducer is moved across the area to be imaged, while watching a continuous image on a computer screen and images are recorded. No discomfort is usually felt during the examination.

It is not unusual for the radiologist to come in and speak with you and view the images on the screen.

Ultrasound exams generally take between 15-60 minutes, however this may vary depending on the complexity of the examination.


A radiologist will interpret all images produced during the examination and the results will be forwarded to your doctor.

Additional Information