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 a small transducer (probe), ultrasound gel and 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. In addition to comprehensive diagnostic ultrasound of the body, abdomen, breast and upper and lower extremities, RCI also offers the latest 3D/4D ultrasound technology.

The main categories of ultrasound exams at RCI include:

  • Abdominal
    • Gallbladder/RUQ
    • Appendix
    • Kidney/Renal
    • Aorta
  • Follow-up U/S
  • Biophysical profile
  • Pelvic (non-OB)
  • Vascular
    • Carotid duplex – Bilateral
    • Carotid duplex – Unilateral
    • Upper extremity
    • Lower extremity
  • OB/Gynecological
    • OB, complete
    • Limited U/S
  • Small parts
    • Breast
    • Thyroid
    • Scrotum
    • Non-Vasc Ext.

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?

When it’s time for an ultrasound, tell your doctor you choose RCI. Typically, your referring physician will schedule an appointment for you. 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 and call 319-364-0121.

How should I prepare for my ultrasound exam?

You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound. You may need to remove all clothing and jewelry in the area being examined. You may also be asked to wear a gown during the procedure. Preparations for your exam depend on the type of ultrasound.


  • 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
  • Liver/Gallbladder: Nothing to eat or drink after midnight or 6–8 hours before the exam


  • Abdominal aorta: No food or drink after midnight or 6–8 hours prior to the exam
  • Carotid arteries: No preparation required
  • Extremity veins (blood clots evaluation): No preparation required
  • Lower extremity (varicose vein evaluation): No preparation required
  • Peripheral arterial studies (peripheral vascular disease evaluation): No preparation required
  • Renal arteries: No food or drink after midnight or 6–8 hours prior to the exam


  • OB 1st trimester: No preparation 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
  • OB 3rd trimester greater than 28 weeks: No preparation required
  • Biophysical profile of baby: No preparation required.
  • Pelvis:
    • Transvaginal: No preparation 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

  • Appendix and Hernia: No preparation required
  • Breast: No preparation required
  • Scrotum: No preparation required
  • Thyroid: No preparation 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 that looks like a bar of soap. The sonographer then gently passes the transducer over the skin of the area being examined, creating 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

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

Your RCI radiologist will review your scans and send your physician the results. 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, visit www.radiologyinfo.org.
RCI is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR).

Contact RCI

RCI Imaging Center
1948 First Avenue NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
Hours: Monday – Friday,
7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Phone: 319-364-0121
Toll Free: 800-747-0121
Fax: 319-364-5684

For billing and
insurance questions:

RCI Business Services
1956 First Avenue NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
Hours: Monday – Friday
8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Phone: 319-832-1735
Toll Free: 800-747-9729
Fax: 319-832-1747

mailing address:

Radiology Consultants of Iowa
PO Box 338
Cedar Rapids, IA 52406