What is an Ultrasound?

An ultrasound is a test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of internal organs such as the abdomen, liver, pelvis or blood vessels. The ultrasound machine gives off vibrations, which enter the body and then echo back, creating the ultrasound image.

Ultrasound imaging is non-invasive and does not use radiation. It is the gold-standard diagnostic exam for monitoring pregnancy. You can have a pregnancy ultrasound at Mass General Imaging up to 13 weeks of gestation. The Mass General Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology does fetal ultrasounds after 13 weeks.

How to Prepare for an Ultrasound

Most ultrasound exams last 30 to 60 minutes. 

  • When to Arrive - Please arrive 10 minutes before your appointment.
  • Eating & Drinking - If you are having an abdominal ultrasound, do not eat or drink anything eight hours prior to your exam. For other ultrasound imaging, you can eat and drink as you normally would before your appointment. 
  • Clothing - Please wear loose, comfortable clothes. You will have the option to change into a gown depending on the part of your body we plan to study.
  • Valuables - We suggest you leave your valuables at home so you don’t have to worry about them. You can keep your things with you during your exam.
  • Children - Children are not allowed in the exam room. If you need to bring kids, please bring someone to watch them in the waiting room.

Patient Resources

Use these patient resources to learn more about getting an ultrasound at Mass General. You can contact us if you have any questions.

imaging appointments
Imaging Appointments

Imaging Appointments

Request an appointment for ultrasound at one of our locations or call our scheduling line.

interpreter services
Interpreter Services

Interpreter Services

Learn more about interpreter services available to Mass General patients.

order your images
Order Your Images

Order Your Images

You can order your images online or in person.