Ultrasound technology uses inaudible soundwaves to deliver superb images without the use of radiation. Ultrasound image quality has undergone dramatic improvement over the last several years.

Ultrasound is of particular use in the diagnosis of soft tissue conditions and as such, it is routinely used to evaluate the solid abdominal and pelvic organs, the breast, muscles, tendons and ligaments, as well as other small body parts, such as the thyroid gland and lymph nodes.  Since images are performed in real time, ultrasound is ideal for performing procedures under imaging guidance, such as a pain relieving injection, the treatment of tendon injuries as well as taking a small specimen of tissue for analysis, known as either a Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) or Biopsy.

Ultrasound may also be used to visualise the arteries and veins of the limbs and the neck with the use of Doppler technology.  As such, it can reliably detect narrowing of the arteries, varicose veins and blood clots.  As ultrasound waves cannot penetrate bone and gas, ultrasound is not used to look inside a joint, bone or gas containing organs, such as the lungs or bowel.  If these structures also require evaluation, then a CT scan or MRI may be more suitable.

As ultrasound does not use radiation, it is ideal for children, where it can be used to diagnose abnormally developed hips (acetabular dysplasia) which often causes a "clicky" hip or an asymmetric buttock fold.

Referring doctors are welcome to discuss with our radiologist the imaging needs of their patients and whether ultrasound is suitable for their patient’s medical condition.


An echocardiogram – also known as an echo – uses sound waves to build up a detailed picture of your heart. It is similar to the ultrasound scan used in pregnancy.

The echo looks at the structure of your heart and the heart valves, and also gives information on the function and pumping action of your heart .

It can be a useful test if you have recently had a heart attack or if you have heart failure. It is also used routinely to assess people with heart valve problems or congenital heart disease.

An echo is especially useful for diagnosing heart disease in newborn babies and children as it is painless and easy to do.

Transesophageal echocardiogram (TEE)

A transesophageal echocardiography takes detailed pictures of your heart from your esophagus (the tube than connects your mouth to your stomach) which lies behind your heart. This test is used to get a closer and more defined image of the heart valves as it can detect things that are too small to be seen on a regular echo.

You will lie on your side and be asked to ‘swallow’ a small probe which is mounted at the end of a flexible tube. To help you, an anaesthetic will be sprayed onto the back of your throat and you may be given a light sedative first to help you relax.

Ultrasound waves are then sent through your throat to your heart and the pictures are captured on the echo machine. This usually takes around 20 minutes and then the tube and probe are gently withdrawn. It can feel slightly unpleasant but should not be painful.

Stress echocardiogram

Occasionally an echocardiogram is done while the heart is under stress - by increasing the heart rate with either exercise or medication. This test can help to diagnose coronary heart disease, heart failure and cardiomyopathy.

Fetal echocardiogram

Fetal echocardiograms are used to help diagnose certain heart defects before a child is born. A fetal echocardiogram shows the baby's heart in more detail than a normal ultrasound scan used in pregnancy.