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QA has approximately 12 ultrasound scanning rooms. There is a large dedicated team to providing one to one individual care with the patient during their scan. You may be seen by a sonographer or radiologist depending on the type of scan requested by your referrer. There are a large range of scans performed that may identify the clinical question asked by the referrer, however just like other imaging modalities, it has its benefits and limitations. In some circumstances you may be referred for further diagnostic imaging.

Ultrasound, like x-ray, is a quick dynamic imaging technique that is usually the first port of call for assessing the underlying question. It uses sound waves to produce images of the particular region in question. It is a safer form of imaging compared to those that use ionizing radiation, such as X-ray and CT.

Non-obstetric scans are performed by Sonographers and Radiology Consultants within the Out patient Scanning Department on C Level and within the In Patient Radiology Day Case Unit (RDCU) also on C Level.

What is ultrasound used for?

Ultrasound Scans can be separated between obstetric and non-obstetric.

Obstetric scans are performed mostly by sonographers or Obstetricians within the Antenatal Clinic on B-level. This is where you will be seen by the specialist team dedicated in assessing mums-to-be wellbeing as well as the unborn baby. There is also an Early Pregnancy Unit on A level. Talk to your midwife, GP or obstetrician about any concerns you have.

During your pregnancy you are likely to have two antenatal scans. You may be required to have a full bladder during these scans so please follow your appointment letters preparation. You will lie on your back and some lubricating gel is put on your lower abdomen. A small device is then passed backwards and forwards over your skin, and high-frequency sound is beamed through your abdomen into the womb. The sound is reflected back and creates a picture, which is shown on a TV screen.


EPAU—Early Pregnancy Assessment Unit

This department covers early pregnancy queries via your midwife/GP referral or as an inpatient, you may be seen here as an inpatient with gynaecological issues. Located on A level by the east entrance.

Ante Natal Clinic

This outpatient clinic on B level, is where you will attend when being seen by your midwife or consultant . This is where you will have your Nuchal scan or dating scan at 10-14 and consequently at the fetal anomaly scan at 18-20 weeks. Following your Anomaly scan you may require monitoring through the remainder of your pregnancy known as Growth scans your follow ups will occur within this clinic.

What is the Nuchal Scan for?

This ultrasound scan is performed between 11+4 and 14 weeks of your pregnancy. This ultrasound scan will identify the presence of a live intrauterine fetus; this will assess the general development of your baby and also calculate your estimated date of delivery. Prior to this scan your midwife should have informed you of the Downs screening test that can be undertaken. This involves a blood test with a measurement of the nuchal fold on the fetus during the scan. These two tests combined with your age and the size of the baby will provide an approximate risk factor for Downs syndrome.

What is the Fetal Anomaly scan for?

This is a screening test that checks for possible physical problems with your baby. This scan is offered to everyone. It is a positive experience for most people but not for everybody. This test does not pick up all problems and there are limitations to ultrasound. The sonographer will explain the procedure of the scan and the results once they are all gathered. Please be patient as it is difficult to attain all the images required to make a sound assessment.

Will I need to come back for another scan?

You may be offered another scan on another day if the sonographer cannot attain all the checks required due to your baby lying in a position which makes it difficult to see everything clearly, or it is too early in your pregnancy for a scan to be completed. If you are above average weight, this makes looking at your baby more difficult because the images are often not as clear and so an ultrasound scan may be booked later in your pregnancy when your baby is slightly bigger.


Outpatient/Inpatient Ultrasound Scanning

Outpatient Ultrasound scanning is located on C level via X-ray and Scanning Department. The inpatient department is within the Radiology Day Case Unit, you will be portered there as an inpatient.

Ultrasound scans can help diagnose problems in many parts of your body, including your:

  • liver (cirrhosis)
  • gallbladder (gallstones)
  • thyroid gland
  • lymph nodes
  • ovaries
  • testes
  • breasts

For example, it can help to detect whether a lump in one of these organs is a tumour or a cyst.

Ultrasound may also be used to diagnose problems with your:

  • blood vessels (aneurysm)
  • joints, ligaments and tendons
  • skin
  • eyes

These examinations are more specific so you will probably be seen by one of the radiologist.

Gynaecological/pelvic scans

Again this is likely to be performed by one of our sonographers. The preparation will require the patient to have a full bladder, in the circumstances of an inadequately filled bladder an internal examination maybe suggested. Again there limitations to ultrasound and not all pathologies can be visualised, further referral maybe suggested.

Abdominal scans

This assess you Liver/gallbladder, kidneys, main abdominal vessels, spleen, pancreas. Again there limitations to ultrasound and not all pathologies can be visualised, further referral maybe suggested.


Ultrasound can be used to guide doctors during certain procedures, such as a biopsy (where a tissue sample is taken for analysis). This is to make sure the surgeon is working in the right area and is often used when diagnosing breast cancer.


Located on A level accessed via the Main Entrance within the Paediatric X-ray Department

They can have scans of the abdomen and pelvis. The hip, spine and brain of newborn babies can be scanned for abnormalities but by 18 months old the skull has fully grown and it is no longer possible to use ultrasound on the brain.



Last updated - 03 April 2017
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