For more information

Mercy Hospital:

Elk Ridge Health: 



Diagnostic medical sonography utilizes high-frequency sound waves as the imaging tool. There is no radiation exposure and, unlike therapeutic ultrasound, it induces no physiological changes within body tissues. Ultrasound uses low energy sound waves, beyond the range of audible sound, in order to create images.

Ultrasound can be used to study abdominal, pelvic, pregnancy, thyroid, and vascular work and for performing invasive procedures such as biopsies.


Let your sonographer know about any of the following:

  • Previous diagnostic imaging of the area of concern
  • Surgery in the area of concern
  • Date of your last menstrual period
  • Medications you are taking 
  • Latex allergies or sensitivities

Patient experience

An imaging procedure typically lasts 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the type of information requested by your physician. For the best quality image, you need to be as still as possible during the exam. Just relax and breathe normally. 

To capture images, the sonographer will be moving an instrument called a transducer over your skin. To ensure good contact for the transducer, a small amount of warm gel is spread on your skin in the area of the procedure. The gel will be removed at the end of the exam. When the exam is over, the sonographer will assist you from the table and out of the room. 

Patient preparation

You must have complete insurance information with you, including your insurance card. Be sure to wear comfortable clothes. You may be asked to change into a gown for the exam.

For a pelvic/OB GYN ultrasound:

Drink 32 ounces (four 8 ounce glasses) of water, finishing one hour before the procedure and do not urinate until after the exam.

For a kidney ultrasound:

Drink one 8 oz glass of water one hour before the procedure and do not urinate until after the exam.

For an abdominal ultrasound (liver, gall bladder, pancreas, aorta):

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight, including gum chewing and smoking.

For other ultrasounds (vascular, thyroid, etc.):

You have no restrictions on eating or drinking.


Your ultrasound images will be interpreted by a board certified radiologist and the findings will be given to your physician. Your physician will contact you to share and discuss the results.

For general radiology information please call:763-236-7150 (Mercy) or 763-236-0500 (Elk Ridge Health).

Our departments promote "add-on" same day procedures.