Diagnostic ultrasound is an imaging method that uses sound waves to produce images of structures within your body. The images can provide valuable information for diagnosing a variety of diseases and conditions.

Ultrasound is used for many reasons, including:

  • During pregnancy to monitor the developing baby’s health
  • Diagnose gallbladder disease
  • Evaluate blood flow
  • Guide a needle for biopsy or tumour treatment
  • Examine a breast lump
  • Check the thyroid gland
  • Find genital and prostate problems
  • Assess small swellings, lumps and bumps


Diagnostic ultrasound is a safe procedure that uses low-power sound waves. There are no known risks.

How to prepare:

Most ultrasound exams require no preparation. However, there are a few exceptions:

  • For some scans, such as a gallbladder ultrasound, your care provider may ask that you not eat or drink for a certain period of time before the exam.
  • Others such as a pelvic ultrasound may require a full bladder. Your doctor will let you know how much water you need to drink before the exam. Do not urinate until the exam is done.
  • Young children may need additional preparation. When scheduling an
    ultrasound for yourself or your child, ask your if there are any specific instructions you’ll need to follow.
Clothing and personal items

Wear loose clothing to your ultrasound appointment. You may be asked to remove jewellery during your ultrasound, so it’s a good idea to leave any valuables at home.