For most ultrasound exams, the patient is positioned lying face-up on an examination table that can be tilted or moved.
A clear gel is applied to the area of the body being studied to help the transducer make secure contact with the body and eliminate air pockets between the transducer and the skin. The sonographer (ultrasound technologist) then presses the transducer firmly against the skin and sweeps it back and forth over the area of interest.
Doppler sonography is performed using the same transducer.
When the examination is complete, the patient may be asked to dress and wait while the ultrasound images are reviewed. However, the sonographer is often able to review the ultrasound images in real-time as they are acquired and the patient can be released immediately.
In some ultrasound studies, the transducer is attached to a probe and inserted into a natural opening in the body. These exams include:
Transvaginal ultrasound. The transducer is inserted into a woman's vagina to view the uterus and ovaries.
Transrectal ultrasound. The transducer is inserted into a man's rectum to view the prostate.
Most ultrasound examinations are completed within 30 minutes to an hour.