OSF Holy Family Medical Center

Monmouth, Illinois


What is Ultrasound?

Ultrasound.JPG Ultrasound imaging is a noninvasive medical test that helps health care providers diagnose and treat medical conditions. It is safe and painless, and produces pictures of the inside of the body using sound waves.

It involves the use of a small transducer (probe) and ultrasound gel placed directly on the skin. High-frequency sound waves are transmitted from the probe through the gel into the body.

The transducer collects the sounds that bounce back and a computer then uses those sound waves to create an image. It is displayed on a computer monitor.  Ultrasound examinations do not use radiation.

The images can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels such as the arteries and veins in the abdomen, arms, legs, and neck.    

How Do I Prepare for My Ultrasound?

Preparation for the procedure will depend on the type of examination you will have. For some scans your healthcare provider may instruct you not to eat or drink before your appointment.

For others, you may be asked to drink water prior to your exam and avoid urinating so that your bladder is full when the scan begins. Wearing comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound exam is a good idea.

What to Expect

  • Most ultrasound examinations are completed within 30 minutes, although more extensive exams may take up to an hour.
  • You may need to remove all clothing and jewelry in the area to be examined or asked to wear a gown during the procedure.
  • You will be asked to lie down for the test and may be asked to change positions during the exam.
  • When the examination is complete, you may be asked to wait while the ultrasound images are reviewed. 
  • After an ultrasound examination, normal activities may be resumed immediately.


A radiologist, a physician specifically trained to supervise and interpret radiology examinations, will analyze the images and send a signed report to the health care provider who requested the exam. 

In some cases the radiologist may discuss results with you at the conclusion of your examination.

Appointment Information

Your healthcare provider will order your examination through the electronic medical record or with a paper order. 

The Central Scheduling Department staff will call you to schedule the examination, or you can call them at (309) 734-1446 if your health care provider instructs you to do so. 

Hours of operation for the department vary for different tests but are generally Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

Please call the Diagnostic Imaging Department at (309) 734-1407 if you have any questions.