Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the body. It works using a transducer, which sends sound waves into your body and collects them as they bounce off your tissues. A computer organizes these waves into images of your body. Doctors look at these images to be sure that the body is working like it should.

Services for women only

  • Pregnancy-related ultrasounds:
    • Obstetric Ultrasound - to see a developing fetus
    • Sonohysterogram - looks at the uterus for things that could complicate pregnancy
    • Amniocentesis - checks fetal development and potential genetic diseases (ultrasound is used to guide the needle that takes fluid from the uterus during pregnancy that is later tested)
  • Breast Ultrasound: examines suspicious areas found during a mammogram or for a palpable lump that has been found

Services for children

  • Pediatric Ultrasound - checks for potential health problems in young children

Services for everyone

  • Abdominal Ultrasound
  • Carotid Ultrasound - looks at blood vessels in the neck to check blood flow
  • Pelvic Ultrasound - looks at the bladder, reproductive system, and other pelvic organs
  • Venous Ultrasound - looks for blood clots and other abnormalities in the legs
  • Ultrasound-guided biopsy - takes a tissue sample from specific sites in the body for testing

What is it like to have an ultrasound?

Ultrasound is a painless test. A technologist spreads a layer of gel over the body part to be examined. The gel helps conduct the sound waves. The technologist then moves the transducer back and forth over the body. Images are seen in black and white on a nearby screen. Depending on the reason for the test, it may take 20-60 minutes.

The radiologist, who is a doctor, will check to make sure the ultrasound images are usable. You'll usually be able to leave right after the test, and the images will be sent to your doctor.

How do I prepare for an ultrasound?

You usually do not need to do anything special. If you are having an abdominal ultrasound, you should not eat or drink within eight hours of the appointment. For pelvic ultrasounds of the bladder, you should drink 32 to 40 ounces of water before the procedure. When your appointment is set up, your doctor can tell you what you will need to do.

If you have an allergy to latex or may be pregnant, be sure to let the technologist know when you arrive.

Radiology info

For additional information about your test please visit the RadiologyInfo website.

Referral information for physicians

You can make a referral for your patients by calling 617-665-1298.

    Contact Us

  • CHA Cambridge Hospital

    1493 Cambridge St. Cambridge, MA 02139

    Outpatient Hours
    M - F: 7 am - 7pm

  • CHA Everett Hospital

    103 Garland St. Everett, MA 02149

    Outpatient Hours
    M - F: 7 am - 7pm

    Schedule an Appointment
    (617) 665-1298

    Please note: to schedule an appointment, you must have a referral order from a primary care provider or specialist.

  • CHA Somerville Hospital

    33 Tower Street Somerville, MA 02143

    Outpatient Hours
    M - F: 7 am - 7pm

  • Ultrasoundseal