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Who we are

At University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust (UHL) we are a team of sonographers and radiologists with a wide range of skills in imaging the organs of the abdomen and pelvis, joints and muscles, organs in the neck and head, veins of the legs and arms and monitoring the development and wellbeing of unborn babies. 

What is Ultrasound imaging?

An ultrasound scan is a method of imaging certain soft tissue areas inside the body by using very high frequency sound waves.

These sound waves cannot be heard by the human ear. They bounce off parts of the body to create ‘echoes’ which are processed into images. The dynamic images are viewed and interpreted by the practitioner as they do the scan, some of the images will be ‘frozen’ and then stored as a record of the examination but the ‘live’ scan gives the practitioner the information to write a report which is then returned to the health care professional who requested the scan.

Ultrasound scans are performed by specially trained sonographers or radiologists and involve moving a small handheld probe over the skin with some gel.

Why is the scan required?

The absence of ionising radiation makes ultrasound the primary investigation for a range of clinical conditions.

Ultrasound is used to assess many different areas within the body. It is frequently used to assess for conditions relating to the liver, gallbladder kidneys and testes as well conditions relating to changes in menstrual cycles or urinary function. Some specialised areas also include looking at joints, blood flow in the veins and arteries, and the neck. It is also commonly used throughout pregnancy.

Whilst ultrasound is a non-invasive method of imaging, it can also be used to guide interventional procedures such as steroid injections into the joints, tube insertions to drain fluid collections or to obtain a tissue sample, known as a biopsy, using a needle.

What to expect

Once you have booked in at reception, one of our radiology assistants will escort you into the ultrasound room and prepare you for the scan. This involves exposing the skin of the area that is being assessed and tucking in some paper to keep clothing dry from the gel that is used. This gel is water based and does not stain. The sonographer or radiologist will then move a handheld probe over the skin using the gel. This is not painful, however there may be some pressure felt as the probe is manipulated in order to obtain the best quality image possible.

You may be asked to roll over on to either side and to hold your breath at various intervals in order to make the ultrasound image clearer.

If the scan is of the organs of the female pelvis it is routine to often do an internal or trans-vaginal (TV) scan along with views from the front of the abdomen (trans-abdominal (TA)). Images from both methods are then used to provide the sonographer with the information to write the report.


Where do we do scans?

We perform ultrasound scans at Leicester Royal Infirmary, Glenfield Hospital, Leicester General Hospital, Melton Hospital, Oakham Hospital, Loughborough Hospital, Coalville Hospital and Hinckley Hospital. Your appointment can, therefore, be at any of these sites. It is very important to check your letter to ensure you attend your appointment at the correct site.



Some scans require specific preparation depending on the area being examined, for instance the patient will be asked to fast before a scan of the abdomen or arrive with a full bladder to examine the organs in a female pelvis, whereas other scans require no preparation. The instructions will be included in the appointment letter; it is important that the instructions are followed to optimise the clinical information gained from the scan.


Scan duration

A scan appointment last between 10 and 40 minutes depending on the area being examined. All scans are given timed appointments and it is important that patients attend at the correct time. Whilst we will try to accommodate late patients it is not always possible and the patient will be offered another appointment.

After the scan

In the maternity department the results of the scan will be discussed with you by the sonographer at the end of the examination, a report will be issued and if necessary further scans and follow-up will be arranged. For all other (non-pregnant) scans the results will be sent back to the requesting GP, consultant or outpatient department, the results will not be discussed with the patient at the time of the scan.

Side effects

There are no known risks from the sound waves used in an ultrasound scan. Unlike other methods of imaging there is no exposure to radiation or potential contra indications.

Contact details

Outpatient appointments: 0116 258 8765, option 4. 

You can find accessibility information for Leicester General Hospital Ultrasound here. 

You can find accessibility information for Leicester General Hospital Ultrasound Suite F Here.

You can find accessibility information for Outpatients Ultrasound LRI here.