An ultrasound scan is a medical test that uses high-frequency sound waves to capture live images from the inside of your body. It’s also known as sonography.

What is an ultrasound?

An ultrasound examination is performed using a smooth, hand held device called a transducer (camera) that is moved across the body with a sliding and rotating action. The transducer transmits the high-frequency sound waves into your body. The sound waves are then reflected from the different tissues in different ways. The sound waves are converted to electrical impulses, which are used to produce a moving image onto the screen.

What happens during an ultrasound?

Before you have the examination, the sonographer (technologist), will ask for some clinical details as to why you are having the ultrasound. They will then explain the procedure you are having in detail and answer any questions you have.

You are normally asked to lie down on a bed and the area to be examined is exposed while the rest of the body is covered. Clear gel is applied to the area of your body which is being imaged. The sonographer will then place the transducer (camera) onto this area using gentle pressure. The transducer is moved across the area with a sliding and rotating action to allow the image to project onto the screen.

The sonographer takes still photographs from the moving images on the screen.

During the examination you may be asked to perform some simple movements to improve the quality of the imaging. These movements you will be asked to perform will be simple, for example:

  • ‘Taking a bigger breath’ to assist during an abdominal ultrasound and allow the areas underneath the rib cage to be clearly viewed
  • During an obstetric examination you may be asked to roll around to encourage the foetus or unborn baby to roll into a position appropriate for imaging
  • In musculoskeletal ultrasound, the transducer moving over any painful areas often provides valuable insights into the true source of the pain

However, if any of these movements cause you concern or discomfort, please notify the sonographer.

How long does a ultrasound take?

Typically, an ultrasound examination will take about 30 minutes. However, some examinations, may take longer than this because of the detailed imaging that is required and the number and size of the organ/s being examined. Ask us when making your appointment how long the type of ultrasound you are having normally takes.

What are the benefits of ultrasound?

Ultrasound provides excellent imaging of the soft tissues of the human body and is often the best and most appropriate diagnostic test.

It is a safe procedure which does not have the risks associated with imaging that uses radiation. There are no proven harmful effects of sound waves at the levels used in ultrasound performed in our clinics.

Ultrasound can be performed with patient movement so is ideal for imaging babies and children. Imaging movement is also very valuable in musculoskeletal (muscles, bones and joints related), gynaecological (women’s health, especially of the reproductive organs) and vascular (blood vessel related) ultrasound. Dynamic imaging (moving pictures) provided by images using ultrasound sound waves gives the opportunity for looking at the inside of the body in positions or with movements where there is pain or movement restriction.

Ultrasound is used as a guide for injections into joints and the bursa around joints.

Ultrasound is mostly non-invasive, provides accurate imaging tests of the human body, is readily available and relatively inexpensive.

How do I prepare for a Ultrasound?

  • Please follow instructions as per our referrals. If you have any concerns please ring the clinic on (07) 4982 2555
  • Wear clothing that will provide easy access to the area that is being imaged
  • Bring any previous ultrasound examination films with you, for comparison.

IMPORTANT: If you have diabetes, or you are on any medications prescribed by your doctor, or any other medication including any over the counter medicines or complementary therapies such as vitamins, etc., contact us to check special preparation instructions.

If a baby, infant or child (up to 18 years) is having an ultrasound, special instructions apply. Again, contact us so that you get the instructions that are appropriate to your child’s age. This will ensure the best test is performed at minimum discomfort to your child.

Preparation depends on the type of ultrasound examination you are having.


Adult Prep: Drink 1 litre of water based fluids finishing at least 1 hour before your appointment. Do not empty your bladder.
Children’s Prep: Under 2 Years: Feed normally, encourage the child to drink extra fluid before examination. 2-8 Years: Drink 2 glasses of any fluid (not milk) in the hour prior to the examination. Child should not empty bladder.
You need to have a full bladder. Drink 1 litre of water based fluids (not milk) finishing at least 1 hour prior to your appointment. Do not empty your bladder.
Do not have anything to eat or drink and do not smoke for 6 hours before your appointment
No preparation required

Who does an ultrasound?

The ultrasound examination is performed by a sonographer, a health professional specialised in performing ultrasound examinations. They have a post-graduate qualification and are fully qualified to perform the examination.

The sonographer performs the examination and provides an interpretation of the images on the screen to a Radiologist (medical specialist), who will review the sonographer’s interpretation and discuss the images with them, before providing a report on the findings to your doctor.

It is not uncommon for the Radiologist to come into the scanning room and view your scan in real-time. 

What are the risks of an ultrasound?

Ultrasound is a safe examination which provides excellent imaging without any significant risk.

How do I get my results?

Your doctor will receive a written report on your test normally within 24 hours after the time of your examination. Urgent reports will be supplied as necessary. It is very important that you discuss the results with the doctor whom referred you so that they can explain what the results mean for you.

How much will my procedure cost?

We bulk bill many of our imaging services. X-RAY, OPG, CT, and DEXA services are bulk billed when Medicare compliant. Some gaps apply for our Ultrasound, Echocardiography, and Injection services. If you’re a concession card or pension card holder or under the age of 18 most services are bulk billed.