OB-GYN Associates

Ultrasound at RCI

What is ultrasound?

Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, is a non-invasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. It involves the use of a small transducer (probe) and ultrasound gel to image the body using high-frequency sound waves, which produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultrasound is safe and painless, and does not use ionizing radiation (as used in x-rays). Because ultrasound images are captured in real time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.

Ultrasound at RCI

Ultrasound is a non-invasive diagnostic medical imaging tool that does not use radiation to obtain images of the body. Not only is it used on expectant mothers to rule out pathology of their growing baby, ultrasound is used to image many different organs in the body.

The main categories of ultrasound exams at RCI include:

  • Abdominal
  • Vascular
  • OB/Gynecological
  • Small parts

RCI also uses ultrasound in minimally invasive procedures, including ultrasound-guided breast biopsies and Saline Infusion Sonograms or hysterosonograms.

How do I make an appointment for an ultrasound at RCI?

When it’s time for an ultrasound in the Cedar Rapids area, look no further than RCI. Typically, your referring physician will schedule an appointment for you. Remember, you have a choice. Tell your doctor you choose RCI.

If you have been asked to schedule the appointment yourself, please have your physician's order and any pre-authorization information required by your insurance or health plan provider in hand, and call us at 319-364-0121.

How should I prepare for my ultrasound exam at RCI?

You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound exam at RCI. You may need to remove all clothing and jewelry in the area to be examined. You may be asked to wear a gown during the procedure.

Preparations for your exam depend on the type of ultrasound you are having.


  • Liver/Gallbladder: Nothing to eat or drink after midnight, or for 6-8 hours prior to the exam.
  • Kidneys/Bladder: Drink at least 16 oz. water 1 hour before the exam to fill your bladder. Do not empty your bladder before the exam.


  • Abdominal aorta: No food or drink after midnight, or for 6-8 hours prior to the exam.
  • Carotid arteries: No preparation is required.
  • Extremity veins: Evaluation for blood clots – No preparation is required.
  • Lower extremity: Varicose Vein Evaluation – No preparation is required.
  • Peripheral arterial studies: Evaluation for peripheral vascular disease – No preparation is required.


  • OB 1st trimester: No preparation is required.
  • OB 2nd and 3rd trimester: Drink at least 16 oz. water 1 hour before the exam to fill your bladder. Do not empty your bladder before the exam.
  • Biophysical profile of baby: No preparation is required.
  • Pelvis:
    • Transvaginal: No preparation is required.
    • Transabdominal: Drink at least 16-24 oz. water 1 hour before the exam to fill your bladder. Do not empty your bladder before the exam.

Small Parts

  • Breast
  • Thyroid
  • Scrotum
  • Appendix and Hernia

No preparation is required.

Please contact RCI at 319-364-0121 with any questions, or for more information on how to prepare for your specific exam.

What can I expect?

An ultrasound examination is performed by a sonographer, a technologist trained in ultrasound imaging. The sonographer will apply a hypoallergenic, water-soluble gel to prevent air from getting between your skin and the transducer, a small probe resembling a bar of soap. The sonographer then gently passes the transducer over the skin of the area being examined, producing a sensation of light pressure. The transducer generates and receives high-frequency sound waves, which a computer processes and converts into detailed images.

After your ultrasound at RCI

Ultrasound examinations are fast, painless and easily tolerated by most patients. After an ultrasound examination, you should be able to resume your normal activities immediately.

Your RCI radiologist will review your scans and send the results to your physician. Your doctor will discuss the results with you. Please allow your physician time to review your results. Urgent findings will be called to your physician.

For more information on this and other radiology procedures, please visit www.radiologyinfo.org.

Click here to return to the Procedures page.

RCI is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

Questions? Comments? Need to schedule an appointment? Contact us at 319-364-0121

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