The patient is positioned on an examination table that can tilt and move. A clear gel is applied to the area that will be examined. The gel helps the transducer make a secure contact and eliminates air pockets between the transducer and the skin, since the sound waves cannot penetrate air. The Sonographer then presses the transducer firmly against the skin and sweeps it back and forth to image the area of interest, reviewing the images on the monitor and capturing "snapshots" as required. The entire area of interest will be scanned, obtaining images from different perspectives. Sometimes the examiner may want to obtain images while you are sitting or standing upright. The examination usually takes less than 30 minutes.
When the examination is complete, the patient may be asked to dress and wait while the ultrasound images are reviewed, either on film or on a monitor. Often, though, the Sonographer or radiologist is able to review the ultrasound images in real time as they are acquired, and the patient can be released immediately.