Our ultrasound scans are performed in Bristol by one of our consultant radiologists. A radiologist is a specialist doctor who will be able, within limits, to discuss the results of your scan with you and provide advice on any other tests you may need.

Before we can perform an ultrasound scan, we need a referral from your GP or another medical practitioner. The cost of your scan can either be self-funded, or covered by your medical insurance policy.

For more information or to book an ultrasound appointment, please call Spire Bristol Hospital on 0117 980 4010.

What is an ultrasound scan?

Ultrasound is a high frequency sound beyond the range of human hearing. It is the same type of sound used by bats to 'see' in the dark and can be used to create moving images of the interior of the body.

As the ultrasound probe (which looks a little like a thick ballpoint pen) is rolled over the part of your body being examined, thicker tissues will reflect more of the waves back which are then detected by the probe.

Ultrasound Scanner (courtesy Siemens UK)

For example: ultrasound echoes pass straight through fluids such as blood and saliva, but will bounce back when they hit something like your thyroid (a gland in your neck). If you have lumps within your thyroid of different thicknesses, the ultrasound will send back echoes of different density to the machine. The machine is then able to display these areas of lumps and bumps on the monitor. The monitor is constantly updated during the ultrasound procedure, so the image on the screen will change whilst the ultrasound probe is moved over the problem area.

The scan doesn't hurt at all. You may feel a little bit of pressure from the ultrasound probe being run over your skin but this won't be uncomfortable.

A scan typically takes about 30 minutes. Your Consultant will receive the results in a form of a letter from the person who performed the scan. Sometimes, pictures taken from the screen of the monitor during the ultrasound will be sent with this letter.