Radiology (Xray)

Ultrasound Musculoskeletal Scan

Contact: Freeman Hospital: (0191) 223 1012 Royal Victoria Infirmary: (0191)282 5626

IntroductionShow [+]Hide [-]

This webpage is designed to give you some information to help you prepare for your ultrasound scan and to give you some idea of what to expect when you attend.

What is an Ultrasound ScanShow [+]Hide [-]

An Ultrasound Scan is an examination in which sound waves (not heard by the human ear), are used to create a picture of organs within the body. The picture can provide accurate information about the size, structure and movement of many parts of the body.

Who performs the scan?Show [+]Hide [-]

Your scan will be performed by either a Radiologist (medical doctor who specialises in interpreting diagnostic imaging) or a Sonographer who is specially trained in Ultrasound scanning.  Whoever performs your scan will explain what happens and will show you what to do.


What preparation will I need?Show [+]Hide [-]

Usually none. Printed instructions will be given to you with your appointment information if any preparation is required.

What if I cannot attend for my appointment? Show [+]Hide [-]

If your appointment time is not convenient it is essential you contact the hospital department immediately so that a more appropriate time can be arranged.  This will enable us to reallocate valuable scanning time to someone else.

Freeman X-ray Department              0191 223 1012

RVI X-ray Department                     0191 282 5626

I am a Diabetic. Does this change anything?Show [+]Hide [-]


What does the examination involve?Show [+]Hide [-]

On arrival you may be asked to undress and put on a hospital gown. 

It is important to inform the nursing and medical staff about all allergies and medications.

Once in the examination room, you will lie on a couch next to the ultrasound machine.

A doctor (Radiologist) will perform the scan, by placing a small amount of clear gel onto the skin and gently running a small probe, like a microphone over the skin surface.

You will be asked to change your position slightly and may be asked to hold your breath from time to time.

The pictures produced on the TV screen will be recorded on film or video and kept with your other radiology images.

How does it feel?Show [+]Hide [-]

In order to perform your scan it will be necessary to apply a small amount of gel to the skin surface in the area being examined.  This gel dissolves in water and will not stain your clothing.  The procedure may be a little uncomfortable but should not be painful



How long will it take?Show [+]Hide [-]

Usually between 15 and 20 minutes.

What are the benefits of having an Ultrasound Scan?Show [+]Hide [-]

This examination will help us make the correct diagnosis so you will be able to be given the correct treatment.

What are the risks of having an Ultrasound Scan?Show [+]Hide [-]

Ultrasound is considered to be a harmless method of investigating the body. There are no known side-effects from diagnostic Ultrasound scanning. 

Are there any side effects?Show [+]Hide [-]

No side effects are known from diagnostic ultrasound.

Can I drive home?Show [+]Hide [-]


I need an ambulance. Do you arrange one?Show [+]Hide [-]

If you need an ambulance/ transport, you should ask your GP Surgery to arrange it. You will need to give them three working days’ notice.  Please note that hospital transport is provided on medical need only.


When will I get the results?Show [+]Hide [-]

Normally you can expect to receive the results of your scan when you next see the doctor who sent you for the examination.  After your examination, the Radiologist who performed the scan will study the pictures taken during your examination.  A report is then prepared and this is sent to your doctor who asked for the examination within two weeks of the examination.

What if I have other questions?Show [+]Hide [-]

If you have any questions, doubts or worries, just ask.  The Radiology staff want to make you feel as relaxed as possible.  This makes the scan easier for you and means that we get better images to aid your diagnosis.  This is a teaching hospital and we sometimes have junior medical staff and trainees in our department.  Trainees and junior staff may be present at the time of your examination.  If you are uncomfortable with this arrangement, please inform the Ultrasound staff at the time of your appointment.  This will not affect your care or treatment in any way.

What if I cannot attend for my appointment?Show [+]Hide [-]

If your appointment time is not convenient it is essential you contact the hospital department immediately so that a more appropriate time can be arranged.  This will enable us to reallocate valuable scanning time to someone else.

RVI X-ray Appointments               0191 282 5626 (8.30am-5.00pm)

Freeman X-ray Appointments     0191 223 1012 (8.30am-5.00pm)

Information from your diagnostic test will contribute to the Diagnostic Imaging Dataset. 

The Diagnostic Imaging Dataset (DID) is a database that holds information on the imaging tests and scans carried out on NHS patients. This will allow the Health and Social Care Information Centre to see how different tests are used across the country.

Nothing will ever be reported that identifies you.  All information is stored securely. It is only made available to appropriate staff, and is kept strictly confidential. However, if you do not want your information to be stored in the DID, please tell the people who are treating you. They will make sure your information is not copied into the DID.

You may, at a later date, still decide to opt out.  Please contact the Health and Social Care Information Centre directly, their contact details are:

Telephone: 0845 300 6016 



What if I have any questions, suggestions or complaints?Show [+]Hide [-]

Should you have any suggestions or concerns, please make these known to the person conducting your examination, or by letter addressed to:

Departmental Manager

Main X-ray Department

Freeman Hospital

High Heaton

Newcastle upon Tyne


Tel: (0191) 2821099


Departmental Manager

X-ray Department

Level 3

Royal Victoria Infirmary

Newcastle upon Tyne


Tel: (0191) 2821099

Contact hours: Monday – Friday: 08.30am – 5.00pm

All Newcastle Hospitals Switchboard Tel: (0191) 233 6161 (24 hours)

Patient Advisory Liaison Service (PALS)

Freephone: 0800-032-02-02

Information produced by: Brian Allan, Regional Ultrasound Manager.                         

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