Providence Imaging Center (PIC) offers the latest in ultrasound technology and a compassionate team of ARDMS certified sonographers. In 2013 PIC in Anchorage purchased state-of-the-art Siemens Acuson S2000 systems that provide improved detail resolution. Two of our ultrasound rooms are located in the Women’s Center, allowing for greater privacy when performing breast procedures.

What Is an Ultrasound?

Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves exposing part of the body to high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultrasound exams do not use ionizing radiation (X-ray). 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 imaging is usually a painless medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.

Conventional ultrasound displays the images in thin, flat sections of the body.

A Doppler ultrasound study may be part of an ultrasound examination. Doppler ultrasound is a special ultrasound technique that evaluates blood as it flows through a blood vessel, including the body’s major arteries and veins in the abdomen, arms, legs and neck.

What Happens During an Ultrasound?

For most ultrasound exams, the patient is positioned lying face-up on an examination table that can be tilted or moved.

A clear gel is applied to the area of the body being studied to help the transducer make secure contact with the body and eliminate air pockets between the transducer and the skin. The sonographer (ultrasound technologist) then presses the transducer firmly against the skin and sweeps it back and forth over the area of interest.

Doppler sonography is performed using the same transducer.

When the examination is complete, the patient may be asked to dress and wait while the ultrasound images are reviewed. However, the sonographer is often able to review the ultrasound images in real-time as they are acquired and the patient can be released immediately.

In some ultrasound studies, the transducer is attached to a probe and inserted into a natural opening in the body. These exams include:

  • Transvaginal ultrasound. The transducer is inserted into a woman’s vagina to view the uterus and ovaries.

Most ultrasound examinations are completed within 30 minutes to an hour.

What Types of Ultrasound Are Offered?

PIC offers the following ultrasound procedures, both general and doppler:


  • Abdominal (includes gall bladder, liver, pancreas, spleen, kidney, and aorta)
  • Aorta
  • Biophysical profile
  • Breast cyst aspiration – Download Instructional PDF, below.
  • Ultrasound-guided breast biopsy – Download Instructional PDF, below.
  • Hysterosonogram
  • Infant hips/spine/neonatal
  • Obstetric
  • Pediatric
  • Pelvic with transvaginal
  • Renal/bladder
  • Testicular
  • Thyroid
  • Thyroid biopsy/fine needle aspiration – Download Instructional PDF, below.
Cyst Aspiration Prep Instructions
Cyst Aspiration Prep Instructions
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Ultrasound Guided Breast Biopsy Prep Instructions   Copy
Ultrasound Guided Breast Biopsy Prep Instructions Copy
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Ultrasound Guided Thyroid Biopsy Prep Instructions
Ultrasound Guided Thyroid Biopsy Prep Instructions
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  • Mesenteric, porta-hepatic, and renal arterial
  • Venous/arterial doppler of the arms and legs
  • Carotid
  • Liver transplant, renal transplant
  • Ankle Brachial Index (ABIs) – arterial legs
  • Vein mapping of the arms and legs

Preparing For an Ultrasound

While many ultrasound procedures require no preparation for our patients, some do. You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound exam. You will need to remove all clothing and jewelry in the area to be examined.

You may be asked to wear a gown during the procedure.

Other preparation depends on the type of examination you will have. For some scans your doctor may instruct you not to eat or drink for as many as 12 hours before your appointment. For others you may be asked to drink up to six glasses of water two hours prior to your exam and avoid urinating so that your bladder is full when the scan begins.

Each preparation helps the technologist get the best possible images for review.

Please see below for specific instructions for each test.

No prep is required for the following procedures:

  • Breast
  • Carotid doppler
  • Cranial
  • Testicular
  • Venous doppler arms/legs
  • ABIs
  • Arterial doppler of the arms/legs
  • Groin
  • Vein mapping

Food and water prep required for these procedures

No eating or drinking (including water) after midnight the evening before these tests; includes no smoking or chewing gum.

  • Abdominal
  • Aorta
  • Liver transplant
  • Mesenteric doppler
  • Porta-hepatic doppler
  • Renal arterial doppler
  • Renal transplant

Water prep is required for these exams

Pelvis or OB Ultrasound

One and one-half hours before the exam, start drinking 32 ounces of water (about four cups). Complete drinking water about one hour prior to the scheduled exam. Do not urinate until after the test.

Renal Ultrasound

Drink plenty of clear liquids the day before the exam. The day of the exam, drink 24 ounces (about three cups) of water. Complete drinking water about 30 minutes prior to the scheduled exam. Do not urinate until after the test.

Results of Your Ultrasound

Images from the ultrasound exam are reviewed and interpreted by a PIC radiologist, who will dictate a report, which is transcribed and sent to the healthcare provider who ordered the exam. This is usually accomplished within three days after the exam.

The sonographer is not able to render a diagnosis based on what they see in the exam room. Patients should contact their healthcare provider for the results of their ultrasound exam.

A CD of the exam can be burned and kept at the front desk for pickup by the patient or ordering clinician. Please contact the File Room at (907) 212-3144 for more information.

Additional Ultrasound Services

For more information about specialized ultrasound services, please visit on of these pages: