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Overview of Ultrasound 

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s offers ultrasound in four convenient locations.  Ultrasound is a non-invasive method used to examine certain parts of the body. It uses high frequency sound waves that penetrate painlessly into the body and reflect back, creating an image on the ultrasound monitor. There is NO radiation involved in this procedure, making it an excellent and patient-safe diagnostic tool.

Ultrasound may also be called diagnostic medical sonography. People that perform the ultrasound exam are referred to as ultrasound technologists, diagnostic medical sonographers, or ultrasonographers. The physicians that interpret the images obtained by the sonographers are radiologists. 

At Mercy Health Saint Mary’s main campus, general ultrasound is located in the radiology department on the first level of the hospital. We also have convenient off-site locations in Byron Center, Rockford and on the East Beltline. We perform a wide variety of exams and evaluate different organs such as, but not limited to:

  • Abdominal and urinary organs
  • Male and female reproductive organs
  • Thyroid and lymph nodes
  • Biopsies
  • Fluid removal
  • Vascular ultrasound, including Transcranial Doppler (TCD)
  • All obstetrics (first, second and third trimesters). We do have the capability to perform 3D ultrasound. Please check with your sonographer during your exam to see if this would be technically feasible.

 Preparing for Your Exam

Exams in ultrasound sometimes require specific patient preparations.  Below is a list of the more common ultrasound studies and the required patient preparations. 

  • Liver, Gallbladder, Pancreas, Spleen, Aorta:  Do not eat or drink anything eight hours prior to your examination. The exam will take approximately 30 minutes.
  • Kidneys/Renal: Do not eat or drink anything for four hours prior to your exam. The exam will take approximately 30 minutes.
  • Kidneys with Bladder: Do not eat or drink anything for four hours, except to consume 32 oz. of water, finishing 1 hour before your appointment. Do not urinate after drinking. Approximate length of exam is 45 minutes.
  • Pelvis or Obstetrical (pregnancies): Eat a normal diet, but you must finish drinking 32 oz. of fluid one hour before your appointment. Do not urinate after drinking. The bladder needs to be full for this study. The exam will take approximately 45 minutes.
  • Prostate: Within one hour prior to your exam, give yourself a fleet enema. Fleet enemas can be purchased at any pharmacy. The exam will take approximately 45 minutes.
  • Renal Artery Doppler: Do not eat or drink anything for eight hours prior to your exam. The ultrasound will take approximately 90 minutes. 
  • Mesenteric Doppler: Do not eat or drink anything for eight hours prior to your exam. Please bring with you a liquid meal that is high in protein such as Ensure© or Boost©.  You will be asked to drink this half way through the exam. The study will take approximately 60 minutes.
  • Invasive procedures: Preparations vary depending on type of procedure, and whether or not you are receiving sedation or just a local anesthetic. Please discuss any questions you have with your doctor. These procedures are only performed at Saint Mary’s downtown campus.
  • All other studies: There is no preparation required. Approximate length of exams range from 30 to 90 minutes.

What can I expect during/after the procedure?

Before the ultrasound exam is scheduled, which is usually done by your physician’s office, feel free to discuss the exam risks and benefits with your physician.

Before your visit, you will need to pre-register. Pre-registration allows you to complete some of the registration process in the location of your choice. To pre-register, call 616-685-6094. Make sure you have your insurance information available.

On the day of the procedure, follow your exam prep as instructed. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time to complete the registration process.  We will need to see a photo ID and insurance card at check in. If you have any questions prior to your exam, feel free to call 616-685-6200 and select option #4.

During your exam, the sonographer will ask you some history questions that will help the radiologist understand why we are performing the test. The sonographer will then instruct you how to position yourself, usually on the stretcher. A clear gel will be applied to the area being examined. This allows for smooth movement of the transducer (the “camera”), and also helps to conduct the sound waves into the body by eliminating air between the skin and transducer. The technologist will then scan the pertinent area of the body, and obtain multiple images that the radiologist will interpret.

Receiving your Results

Your exam will be read by a board-certified radiologist (our sonographers are not qualified to interpret or give scan results). The report is usually transferred to your physician within one to two business days but additional time may be needed for your physician to review and correlate with other tests that you have had. If you have not heard anything within five business days after your exam, you can contact your physician’s office. 

Which Mercy Health locations offer Ultrasound?

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s has four convenient imaging locations.

To schedule or re-schedule an appointment, call 616-685-4000.

For questions regarding your exam: call 616-685-6200 and select option #4.

Mercy Health Radiology - Saint Mary’s (located in downtown Grand Rapids)
200 Jefferson Ave SE 
Grand Rapids, MI 49503  Map & Directions
Phone: 616-685-6200
Fax: 616-685-8993
Radiology/imaging services is located on the first floor. Please park in the main parking lot located directly in front of the main hospital or in the parking ramp located in front of the Emergency Department. Parking is free. Enter through the front revolving doors of the hospital and stop at our information desk to be directed to radiology. For after-hour appointments, please enter through the emergency room entrance where security will direct you to radiology.

Mercy HealthSouthwest
2373 64th Street SW
Byron Center, MI 49315  Map & Directions
Phone: 616-685-3927
Fax: 616-685-3939
Imaging is on the lower level (West Entrance). When you enter the building, Imaging will be on your right.

Mercy Health Radiology - Rockford
6050 Northland Drive NE  
Rockford, MI 49341  Map & Directions

Mercy Health Radiology - East Beltline (located in Grand Rapids, Michigan)
1471 East Beltline NE
Grand Rapids, MI  Map & Directions
Phone: 616-685-1415
Fax: 616-685-3424
Located just north of Leonard on the East Beltline. The building is shared with Mercy Health Physician Partners. Radiology is through the main entrance.

For more information on Mercy Health Radiology service please click HERE.

Why Choose Mercy Health Saint Mary’s for Your Ultrasound Exam

  • Four convenient locations
  • Same-day urgent appointments available
  • Weekend and evening appointments available
  • Free, easy-to-access parking
  • ARDMS Registered Sonographers
  • Accredited for vascular ultrasound services through ACR
    • Peripheral vascular
    • Cerebral vascular
    • Abdominal vascular
    • Deep abdominal vascular
  • Patient-focused care in a safe patient environment

Additional Information

Click here for additional patient information regarding ultrasound.