Ultrasound FAQ

Are ultrasound exams harmful?
Ultrasound energy that produces the sound waves is not harmful when properly applied for the purpose of medical diagnostic imaging. Sonographers ensure that they follow the ALARA principle (as low as reasonably acceptable) and limit exposure to what is required. Ultrasound does not use ionizing radiation such as is required for an x-ray.

How do you prepare yourself for an ultrasound exam?
There are two barriers in producing a good quality exam –gas and bone. Contrary to what many think, fat is not the main barrier. Sound waves need a medium to travel. Air is not a medium and therefore blocks the path of the ultrasound beam. Liquid is a good conductor and that is why gel is applied to the body to allow for greater contact between the probe and skin. Bone is a sense solid medium, too dense for sound to penetrate. As a result, bone disorders cannot be diagnoses by ultrasound.

In order to produce good quality images, the patient is required to fast for at least 8 hours prior to the exam. This reduces the amount of gas content in the abdomen. This includes chewing gum. Drinking water with medication does not prevent the sonographer from attaining good pictures.

Why do I have to drink water before my ultrasound exam?
The type of ultrasound exam will determine whether you need to drink water for the test. If the exam is an abdominal ultrasound, the patient does not need to drink water. A pelvic ultrasound requires at least 40 Oz of water 1 hour prior to the appointment time. The full bladder serves as a window to see your pelvic organs (i.e. uterus, ovaries, or prostate). Without a full bladder, it is difficult to see them.

Why do I have to fast for my ultrasound?
An abdominal ultrasound requires that you fast for at least 8 hours prior to your scheduled appointment. This reduces the amount of gas in your abdomen (which obstructs the abdominal organs). Eating triggers the digestive system to take effect. This causes the gallbladder to contract, preventing the sonographer to visualize abnormalities such as gallstones.

When will I get the results of my ultrasound?
If you are seeing your doctor immediately after your ultrasound appointment, a verbal report will be called or faxed to your Doctor. If you are not seeing your doctor after the ultrasound test, a final report will be faxed to your doctor with 24-48 hours.

Will the sonographer discuss the results?
Sonographers are not permitted to discuss the results with the patient. The results of the examination will be sent to your doctor. Your doctor will discuss the results with you.

Thank you for choosing Sacramento Imaging Center!
We look forward to serving you. In an effort to make your check-in process easier and quicker, please download the forms below and bring them with you to your appointment, along with a valid patient ID. If you have any questions, give us a call at 916-905-5363 or email us at

New Patient Intake Form

Ultrasound Pricing

To help you make the best financial decision about your medical costs, Sacramento Imaging offers a cash pay price in all diagnostic ultrasound scans. The cash pay price is the price you pay in full before a medical procedure.

Paying the medical cost before the time of service can mean significant savings to you. Medical costs can vary for each individual, depending on the type of procedure you have, your insurance benefit coverage and deductible. If you have insurance coverage, and you select a cash pay price, Sacramento Imaging does not bill the insurance for these services.