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Radiology (Xray)

Ultrasound Scan

Contact: RVI: (0191) 282 4330; Freeman Hospital: (0191) 223 1012

IntroductionShow [+]Hide [-]

This web page is designed to give you some information about having an Ultrasound Scan, to help you prepare for your scan and give you some idea of what to expect when you attend.

What is an Ultrasound Scan?Show [+]Hide [-]

An Ultrasound Scan is a way of producing detailed pictures of the body using sound waves.  The sound waves are at a pitch that is too high to be heard by the human ear.  A computer converts the information into a moving picture that is displayed on a monitor.

Do I need any special preparation before the examination?Show [+]Hide [-]

Depending on what part of your body is being examined, you may be asked to carry out some instructions before you come for your appointment.  You may be asked not to eat or drink for six hours or you may be asked to drink some water before your examination so that your bladder is full for the scan.  Your appointment letter will detail any instructions. 

Please read your appointment letter carefully and follow the instructions it gives.  The success of the examination may well depend on this.  Failure to follow the instructions may result in the examination being delayed or postponed to another day.

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

  • If you need to undress you will be given a gown to wear.  In many cases you will not have to undress completely but will be asked to remove clothing from the area that will be examined during the scan.
  • A Sonographer or Radiography Assistant will show you where you can get changed in private and when you are ready will escort you into the scan room.
  • You will be asked to lie on the Ultrasound couch for the scan. 
  • It may be necessary for you to lie in different positions and you may be asked to hold your breath while pictures are taken. 
  • The person performing the scan will tell you what to do and will help you if you have any difficulties.

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 the scan take?Show [+]Hide [-]

Each examination is different and may take between 15 and 30 minutes to complete, depending on the area to be examined.

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

The person who carries out the examination is called a radiologist (specialist x-ray doctor) and a radiographer. They will explain the procedure to you and show you how to position yourself.  It is important that you lie still for the duration of the scan.

Will I have to wait long before being scanned?Show [+]Hide [-]

We always try to scan you as near to your appointment time as possible.  Emergency cases must take priority however and this can sometimes cause delays.  Please be patient, but feel free to ask one of the staff if you think that you may have been overlooked.

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. 

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 or Sonographer 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.  The report is normally sent out the day following the examination.

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


I need an ambulance/transport. Do you arrange it?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.

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 4330 (8.30am-5.00pm)

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

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 pictures 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 have any comments, 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 the hospital that you are attending your examination:

Royal Victoria Infirmary

The Departmental Manager

X-ray Department Level 3

Royal Victoria Infirmary

Queen Victoria Road

Newcastle Upon Tyne


Tel: (0191) 282 1099

Freeman Hospital 

The Departmental Manager

Main X-ray Department

Freeman Hospital

High Heaton

Newcastle Upon Tyne


Tel:  (0191) 282 1099

Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.00pm

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

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) can offer on-the-spot advice and information about the NHS.  You can contact them on freephone 0800 032 02 02 or email

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 



Information produced by: Yasmin McGrady, Superintendent Sonographer, Penny Ford, Superintendent Sonographer.

© Copyright Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 2018 Site by TH_NK