BILLING (503) 292-9108    INFO (503) 216-4830


Ultrasound is a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of structures within the body. These waves are directed into the body through a transducer, a type of probe. The waves reflect off the internal structures and the resounding echoes are captured by the transducer and then processed by a computer. Ultrasound produces real-time or moving images. Ultrasound is often used to evaluate solid or fluid-containing organs in the abdomen and pelvis. Other tissues commonly evaluated by ultrasound include the breasts, thyroid, testicles, and musculoskeletal structures. Ultrasound is also frequently used to detect and measure blood flow in arteries and veins.

How should I prepare for the procedure?

Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound exam. No other preparation is required. If your abdominal vessels are being studied, we will ask you to fast prior to the procedure.

How is the procedure performed?

You will be asked to lie on an examination table that tilts and moves. A clear gel is applied to the area that will be examined. The gel helps to create a smooth “pavement” for scanning and eliminates any air pockets since sound waves are unable to penetrate air. The sonographer sweeps the transducer along the area of interest, reviewing the scans on the monitor and capturing key images. Most ultrasound studies take a minimal amount of time and are painless.

When the examination is complete, you may be asked to dress and wait while the ultrasound images are reviewed and the radiologist has had an opportunity to communicate the results to your physician.

Breast Ultrasound

What is a breast ultrasound?

Breast ultrasound is frequently used to evaluate breast abnormalities found during a screening, diagnostic mammogram, or breast exam. Ultrasound is excellent in identifying whether a questionable area in the breast is cystic, fluid-filled, or a solid structure. These findings are beneficial in deciding if the biopsy sample of tissue is required for diagnosis.

Vascular Ultrasound

What are vascular ultrasounds?

Vascular ultrasound of the body’s veins and arteries can assist the radiologist in evaluating blockages in blood flow, like clots in veins and plaque in arteries. This information can often determine whether a patient is a likely candidate for a procedure. Ultrasound images may also be used in planning or to review the success of graft procedures. Ultrasound of the veins may identify blood clots that require treatment such as anticoagulant therapy (blood thinner) or filters to prevent clots from traveling to the lungs (embolism). Ultrasound of the vascular system also provides a fast, noninvasive method of identifying blockages of blood flow in the neck arteries to the brain that might produce a stroke or mini-stroke.


What is musculoskeletal ultrasound?

Musculoskeletal ultrasound is used to evaluate muscles, tendons, and joints. It is frequently used to diagnose tendon injuries, such as in the rotator cuff of the shoulder or the Achilles tendon in the heel.

ultrasound imaging can be performed at all sites:

Providence St. Vincent Medical Center

Providence Newberg Medical Center

vascular ultrasound

Providence Seaside Diagnostic Imaging


"I highly recommend the Ruth Spear breast center at St. Vincent, the staff, and the doctors.  I feel the excellent care I received was critical to my recovery / survival of breast cancer."