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What Is an Ultrasound?

Ultrasound is a diagnostic medical procedure used to examine many parts of the body, such as the:

  • abdomen,
  • breasts,
  • female reproductive system,
  • prostate, heart, and
  • blood vessels.

Sonographers, or ultrasound specialists, use sound waves to obtain images of organs and tissues in the body.

During an ultrasound examination, the sonographer places a transducer in contact with the patient’s body that emits high-frequency sound waves that pass through the body, sending back echoes as they bounce off organs and tissues. Special computer equipment converts those echoes into visual data.

Ultrasound is increasingly being used in the detection and treatment of heart disease, heart attacks, and vascular disease that can lead to stroke.

University of Utah Health radiology offers a full range of diagnostic imaging and therapeutic services for the community. Our radiologists are subspecialty trained which means they are not only experts in radiology, but also experts of the brain, heart, women’s health, the muscles, and joints and more.

Find a Radiology Specialist

General Ultrasound

General ultrasound includes all non-vascular and non-obstetric ultrasound. We have five machines that provide high resolution, grey scale imaging, visceral, pelvic, scrotal, thyroid, and Doppler studies as well as 3D volume rendering capability. Neonatal brain and spine studies can be performed in the lab or at the bedside for ICU patients.

Obstetric Ultrasound

Obstetric ultrasound is conducted in the Maternal Fetal Diagnostic Center. There are five scan rooms total: three clinic rooms and two consult rooms with two genetic counselors available.

Maternal Fetal Diagnostic Center

The Maternal Fetal Diagnostic Center also offers routine obstetric sonography for:

  • dedicated first trimester screening,
  • complex anomaly evaluation in all trimesters,
  • biophysical profile assessment,
  • Doppler evaluation for growth restriction,
  • fetal anemia surveillance, and
  • evaluation of complex twin or higher-order multiple gestations.

To ensure our patients receive the best results and the highest level of care possible, our sonographers are ARDMS certified and have subspecialty boards in abdominal, obstetric, and neonatal head ultrasound.

Both labs are AIUM (American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine) accredited. This is a voluntary accreditation that requires documentation of training, ongoing clinical experience, and continued education for all sonographers and physicians involved.

Contact the Maternal Fetal Diagnostic Center

Call 801-581-7746


Preparing for Your Ultrasound

Before you have an ultrasound, it's important to go into your appointment with a full bladder.

Learn More