What is an Ultrasound Scan?

Diagnostic ultrasound is an imaging technique that uses high frequency sound waves to generate detailed images of the soft tissues of the body. Ultrasound does not use any radiation, and is generally quick and easy to perform in many clinical situations. The ultrasound technologist, or sonographer, uses a specialised probe that uses piezoelectric crystal technology to generate and receive ultrasound waves which pass through the tissues of the body to create detailed images of the soft tissues.

Ultrasound is generally excellent for imaging soft tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, abdominal and pelvic organs such as the gallbladder, liver, kidneys and ovaries, the thyroid gland and soft tissues of the neck, breast and chest wall, and of course in pregnancy.

Benefits and Limitations of Ultrasound

Ultrasound, whilst safe, quick and non-invasive, does have limitations in terms of what it can clearly visualise. In particular, ultrasound is limited in the assessment of certain dense tissues such as bone (including the skull and spine), gas-containing organs such as the lungs and bowel, and fine structures inside joints such as menisci, cartilage and supporting ligaments (eg : ACL and PCL). In many clinical situations, ultrasound is used to complement other imaging tests such as X-Ray, CT scan or MRI scans, which when combined, often allow the reporting radiologist to visualise a broader level of anatomical detail than ultrasound alone.

At Panorama Radiology Specialists, our Gold Coast radiologists use state-of-the-art ultrasound technology to perform a wide range of ultrasound guided interventional procedures and pain management techniques, including –

  • cortisone and local anaesthetic injection to various tendons, bursae, ligaments and joints
  • biopsy and fine needle aspiration of various soft tissues including the thyroid and breast
  • PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) injection to tendons, joints and plantar fascia

Our radiologists have subspecialty training and many years of experience performing imaging guided interventional procedures and pain management.

Please ask our staff if you would like more information about imaging guided pain management procedures.


Ultrasound has been used in clinical practice for many decades, and has no known adverse effects.

Ultrasound does not involve any radiation.

Ultrasound is safe for use in pregnancy.

Specialised Ultrasound Studies

At Panorama Radiology Specialists, we offer the full range of diagnostic ultrasound examinations and procedures in our Benowa Gold Coast clinic, using the most advanced ultrasound equipment available, performed by some of the region’s most experienced sonographers, including –

  • All general ultrasound – including abdominal, renal, pelvic and thyroid scans.
  • Echocardiography – performed by leading Cardiac Sonographer Andrew McDonald, who has 2 decades of experience performing echocardiography and complex ultrasound studies at Pindara Hospital, Gold Coast.
  • Musculoskeletal ultrasound – for muscle, tendon, ligament and bursal conditions. Our specialist radiologists and sonographers have subspecialty training and expertise in musculoskeletal imaging.
  • Women’s Imaging – including pelvic, breast and obstetric scans.
  • Vascular ultrasound – for arteries, veins and DVT studies.
  • Hepatic elastography for fibrosis.
  • Fatty liver scans – for grading and monitoring of fatty infiltration of the liver.

What Preparation Is Required for an Ultrasound?

Our staff will advise you of the specific preparation for your scan. You may be asked to change into a gown. For abdominal ultrasound scans you may be required to fast for several hours beforehand to allow optimal visualisation of your upper abdominal organs, as often food material within the stomach can limit visualisation with ultrasound. For obstetric and pelvic ultrasounds you may be asked to drink water and have a full bladder for your scan, which allows optimal visualisation of the pelvic organs.

Who Reports Ultrasound Scans?

All diagnostic ultrasound studies in Australia under the Medicare Benefits Scheme are required to be reported by a specialist radiologist or other medical specialist with expertise in a specific field (e.g., a cardiologist reporting echocardiography)

A radiologist is a medical specialist who has completed around 12 years of tertiary and post-graduate education, including medical school and 5-6 years of advanced specialist training under the Royal Australian & NZ College of Radiologists’ training program. The doctors at Panorama Radiology Specialists have completed additional subspecialty Fellowship training, including musculoskeletal imaging and interventional radiology.

At Panorama Radiology Specialists, a specialist radiologist is on-site at our Benowa Gold Coast clinic to supervise and report your ultrasound examination, discuss any unusual or complex findings with the sonographer and/or your referring doctor, and recommend any additional scans or specialist referrals that may be appropriate in your individual circumstances. At PRS we firmly believe on-site supervision and engagement within the imaging team is critical to ensuring the highest standard of ultrasound diagnosis and patient care.

Our Specialist Radiologist Is Onsite to Supervise Your Ultrasound

Some corporate medical imaging businesses outsource their ultrasound studies for remote reporting by off-site radiologists or send them to 3rd party providers – in some instances, even interstate. Some small providers may not actually have an attending doctor on site to supervise ultrasound studies.  

As a patient, you have the right to ask if your reporting specialist radiologist is on-site or if your study is being sent off-site for remote reporting or outsourced to a 3rd party provider.

To ensure the highest standard of clinical care, in line with Medicare guidelines, Panorama Radiology Specialists do not outsource ultrasound reporting or use any 3rd party provider. Our reporting Gold Coast-based specialist radiologist is on-site to supervise, discuss and report your scan.

Ultrasound Fees

To enable us to provide the highest possible standard of ultrasound services including industry leading technology delivered by highly trained sonographers, Panorama now charge a modest gap fee for ultrasound services as of November 2023. Our gap fees are extremely competitive and remain the lowest in the region.

We Bulk Bill ultrasound services for pensioners and HCC holders.

Ultrasound Results

Our specialist Gold Coast based radiologist doctors will analyse your ultrasound scan following your appointment, and your results and images will be promptly electronically delivered to your referrer, typically the same day. Urgent results are typically telephoned through to your referrer.

You will need to return to see your referrer to obtain and discuss your results.

Our radiologists are always happy to discuss your ultrasound scan findings with your referrer, and suggest any further tests or imaging guided procedures that may be appropriate in further management.

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