About Ultrasound | Consultant Radiologists | Ultrasound Preparation | FAQs

Preparation for Ultrasound

Some ultrasound scans require a level of preparation in order for you to have the scan. Generally, it is good practice to be well-hydrated before an ultrasound scan as this helps to clearly define your organs on the ultrasound images.

Some ultrasounds do not require any preparation, such as musculoskeletal or soft tissue scans.

Scroll down below to see what level of preparation you need before your scan.


waiting room

Type of Scan

Preparation Required

Urinary Tract (with or without flow rate)

Requires a full bladder.
Kidneys, ureters and bladder will be scanned. Patient must be full to scan the bladder to get an accurate image and flow rate score. Patient should be well hydrated on the day of the exam.

Renal (Kidneys)

Only the kidneys are generally scanned, However, the radiologist may want to look at the bladder as well. So the patient should arrive with a reasonably full bladder.


Requires a full bladder. Must not eat anything for 4 hours prior to scan.
Patient can drink water and black coffee/tea beforehand but no milk/fizzy fluids as this will obscure the ultrasound result. Most organs are scanned depending on what the doctor is looking for, but should include liver, gallbladder, kidneys, bladder, spleen and pancreas.

Pelvis (Trans-vaginal or Trans-abdominal)

Requires a full bladder and not menstruating at the time of the exam.
Trans-vaginal scans are usually done by a female specialist radiologist, but if it is urgent or more convenient, we have a number of male radiologists who can also perform this scan. A chaperone is always available for any personal exam and you will always be notified at the time of booking if it is with a male Doctor.

Prostate (Trans-rectal/TRUS or Trans-abdominal)

Does not require a full bladder, however this is often performed with a Renal/Urinary tract ultrasound. If this is the case, follow the preparation advise for the relevant scan above.

Prostate scan with Biopsy (TRUS Bx)

Does not require a full bladder - see above.

Scrotal (Testes)

No preparation required.

Musculoskeletal (MSK)

e.g Hand, wrist, shoulder, elbow, knee, foot, ankle etc.
Can only be done by an MSK specialist. No preparation required.

KUB (Kidneys, Ureters and Bladder)

Requires a full bladder.

Looking for advice on a scan not listed above? Please contact us and we will be happy to help.