The First Private Teaching Hospital in South Africa, Johannesburg

Ultrasound (Sonar)

  • An ultrasound scan uses a machine which emits very high frequency sound waves (inaudible) which reflect off body tissues and create a picture of our organs. The procedure is painless and usually takes less than 45 minutes.
  • Some of the common uses of ultrasound includes:
    1. Imaging solid organs of abdomen/pelvis, liver, spleen, pancreas, kidneys, lymph nodes, uterus, ovaries and prostate.
    2. Imaging of fluid and fluid containing structures i.e. Gallbladder, bladder, ascites, pleural effusions (fluid around the lungs).
    3. Imaging of tendons, ligaments and joints.
    4. Imaging of thyroid gland and doing biopsies of thyroid nodules with a thin needle (FNA).
    5. Interventional procedures – Ultrasound is often used to drain fluid from various parts of the body and to biopsy growths and get tissue samples from the liver and kidneys.
    6. Doppler can evaluate the flow of blood in arteries and veins and some of the uses include:
      • Carotid Doppler – to assess blood flow to brain and see if there are any blockages/plaques.
      • Look for clots in veins.
      • Check arterial and venous flow to liver.
      • Check flow in transplant livers, kidneys and pancreas.
  • Ultrasound is safe and there is NO RADIATION.
  • We have 5 ultrasound machines and well trained radiographers and radiologists.
  • Sound waves travel well through water and poorly through gas. We put gel on the patient’s skin to make better contact. A full bladder is useful to see pelvic organs and you may be required to drink water before the scan. Being starved helps visualisation of the abdomen as there is less gas in the stomach and intestines. This is especially important when looking at the gallbladder and gallstones.