Radiology (Xray)

Ultrasound Scan: Contrast Enhanced Ultrasound

RVI Radiology Appointments 0191 282 4330; Freeman Hospital Radiology Appointments 0191 223 1012

What is a contrast enhanced Ultrasound (CEUS) scan?Show [+]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. A contrast ultrasound is a test designed specifically to look at the blood supply to a particular organ or structure.

Why do I need a contrast enhanced ultrasound (CEUS)?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • The most common reason for a contrast ultrasound is to get more information about a part of your body that has been scanned recently. This type of ultrasound should be able to provide a more detailed picture about an area that may not be clear from a previous test.

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 trained in ultrasound scanning.  Whoever performs your scan will explain what happens and will show you what to do.

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

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

I have diabetes. Does this change anything?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • No.

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

  • On arrival you may be asked to change into a hospital gown. 
  • Once in the examination room, you will lie on a couch next to the ultrasound machine.  A radiologist or sonographer 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 may be asked to change your position slightly, and hold your breath from time to time.
  • The doctor who arranged for you to have this examination has asked the radiologist or sonographer to consider performing a contrast enhanced ultrasound as part of the test. This involves putting a small needle into the arm or hand, and a small injection being given. This injection is 1 – 2 mls of tiny bubbles, which are seen very well with ultrasound.
  • You will then be asked to lie still for 4 – 5 minutes while we record the bubbles travelling around the body. Occasionally this will be repeated for a second time. 
  • We will ask you to wait in the department for 10 minutes after the completion of your test, to ensure you feel ok before you leave the department.
  • The radiologist or sonographer will answer any questions you have about the contrast enhanced ultrasound test at the time. If you have concerns before the test, please telephone the radiology department on:
  • RVI X-ray Appointments               0191 282 4330 (Monday to Friday 8.30am-5.00pm)
  • Freeman X-ray Appointments     0191 223 1012 (Monday to Friday 8.30am-5.00pm)

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

  • We will 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 [-]

  • The ultrasound and CEUS will generally take approximately 20 minutes, however it does vary and you may be in the Radiology Department for around one hour or more, as there may be a short wait before the examination.

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

  • Staff will check how you are feeling following the procedure. There is no reason why you cannot drive home afterwards.

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

  • The doctor or sonographer will probably need to put a small tube (cannula) in an arm vein so that an injection can be given. Sometimes this can be slightly uncomfortable, and there may be a small amount of pain or bruising after this is removed, although if this happens it is likely to be mild.

What are the benefits of having a contrast enhanced ultrasound scan?Show [+]Hide [-]

  • Watching how the blood flows through an area of interest can provide valuable information as to its nature. This additional information can be combined with the clinical and ultrasound features to make an accurate diagnosis.

What are the risks of having a contrast enhanced 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.  CEUS is very safe, with a risk of allergy approximately 1 in 14,000, which is extremely low. The radiologist or sonographer will explain this in more detail at the time of the examination.

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

  • You can expect to receive the results of your scan when you next see the doctor who sent you for the 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 within one week.

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 please contact the hospital department 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 (Monday to Friday 8.30am-5.00pm)
  • Freeman X-ray Appointments     0191 223 1012 (Monday to Friday 8.30am-5.00pm)

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:
  • The Departmental Manager, X-ray Department, Level 3, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4LP
  • The Departmental Manager, Main X-ray Department, Freeman Hospital, High Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE7 7DN
  • 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 produced by:  Dr T Hoare, Radiology Clinical Director, Dr M A F McNeill, Consultant Radiologist, Mr B Stenberg, Consultant Sonographer.

Diagnostic Imaging DatasetShow [+]Hide [-]

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 



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