Ultrasound and Visiting
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are some additional visiting restrictions in place within the Ultrasound department. Please check the restrictions before attending.
Making a booking
Booking your general ultrasound examination
Once your doctor has requested a scan, three working days are required to allow the request to be ready to be booked. Please then phone the number below and make the appointment.
Booking line opening times: Monday-Friday 08:30am - 5.00pm
Booking telephone number: 01604 545636 Option 4
How to find us
The Ultrasound department is located within Radiology (area D) at Northampton General Hospital
Click here for the hospital map
What is ultrasound?
Ultrasound is a painless way of looking into the body without using x-rays. At the power levels used there are no known risks from ultrasound.
A small amount of gel is placed on the skin and a small handheld instrument is passed over the area being examined. This instrument sends sound waves into the body and then receives the returning sound waves,turning them into an image.
All examinations are performed by a Radiologist or an Advanced Practitioner Radiographer (Sonographer) with specialist qualifications in ultrasound.
They will perform the examination, then interpret the images and write a report of the findings.
General medical ultrasound
Ultrasound can be used to examine:
You will need to starve for 6 hours before your scan to allow for the organs to be clearly seen.Essential medicines may be taken with a little water.Please inform us if you are diabetic.
You will need to attend with a full bladder.Initially a scan will be performed through the tummy and then is usually followed up with an internal scan to get more detail.If you are happy for this to go ahead you will be sent to empty your bladder and then remove your underwear.A small ultrasound probe with a sterile cover will be inserted into the vagina. This should not be painful but can be slightly uncomfortable. If you are not happy to have the internal scan or have any questions the Radiologist or Sonographer will be happy to discuss it with you at the time of your examination.
Please attend with a full bladder. In most cases drinking a couple of pints of water in the hour before the scan will be ideal.
No preparation required. You may be scanned by a female member of staff
Ultrasound examinations of children Parents are invited into the scan room with their child. The child will lie on the couch in the dimly lit room; the area being examined will need to be uncovered, so clothes that are easy to move/remove are ideal. Gel will then be put on their skin which may be a bit cold. Parents may be asked to help the child to stay in a specific position or to provide reassurance. The scan will not hurt the child. Hip scans: No preparation is required. Head scans: No preparation is required. Kidney/bladder scans:Please give your child plenty to drink before the examination so there will be some urine in their bladder. If they are bursting to go to the toilet prior to arriving in the department they may go but please keep them drinking
Frequently asked questions
1. Can this scan harm me?
There no known risks from having an ultrasound.
2. Who can come in the scan room with me?
One adult can accompany you in the scan room if you would like them to.
We do not allow children into the scan rooms.
3. Do I need to bring anything with me?
4. Can I bring children into the scan room?
No. Radiology has no child care provisions within the department, and in accordance with the national recommendations children cannot come into the scan room.
Remember, an ultrasound scan is an important medical examination, and it is treated in the same way as any other hospital investigation.
5. Can I bring more than one adult into the room with me?
No. We allow one adult in the room with you both due to lack of space but also due to the fact that this is a medical examination that requires a great deal of concentration to ensure the accuracy of the findings.
6. What will happen when I go into the scan room?
Ultrasound scans are carried out by specially trained staff called Radiologists or Advanced Practitioner Radiographers/Sonographers. In order to get good images the procedure is carried out in a dimly lit room. You will be asked to lie or sit down, depending on what body part is being scanned.Gel is placed on the area being scanned to make sure there is good contact between the machine and your skin.) A hand-held device called a probe is then held over your skin. It is this probe which sends out ultrasound waves and picks them up when they bounce back.Having the scan does not hurt, but a slight pressure may need to be applied to get the best views. A black and white picture of the area will then be seen on the ultrasound screen.
7. How long will my scan take?
Scan time varies depending on the area being scanned.
8. How will I get the results of this scan?
The report will be sent to your doctor after the scan so you will need to make another appointment with your GP.
Ultrasound referrals from Primary Care
All examinations from primary care are completed in line with the Northamptonshire’s Good Practice Guidelines for Requesting Ultrasound Examinations from Primary Care.