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What is Ultrasound?

Ultrasound uses sound waves to look at the internal organs of the body. A special instrument, called a transducer, has tiny crystals inside that, when excited by an electrical current, emit sound waves above the audible range of sound. The sound waves are sent into the body and bounce off internal organs. The transducer then picks up these rebounding sound waves and, with the aid of a computer, displays the returning sound waves as a picture representing the organ(s) of interest. There is no radiation involved in ultrasound. This unique feature is why so many doctors refer pregnant women for Ultrasound examinations of their unborn baby. Ultrasound has had many advances in the last few years. Technologists can now create three dimensional renderings of the unborn baby's face, as well as examine in detail other anatomical structures such as the baby's heart.

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Ultrasound service

What Can Ultrasound do?

Ultrasound is very good at discerning cystic (fluid-filled) structures from solid structures within the body. It is a great tool for targeted examinations, and because of its relatively low cost, it is also a wonderful first line of testing. Ultrasound can look at solid internal organs (pancreas, spleen, liver), reproductive organs, thyroid, unborn babies, arteries and veins, and can even image the skin and muscles on the arms and legs. Ultrasound is also used as a guidance tool: the technologist can show the doctor the exact location of an organ for biopsy with a needle.

Why do I need to drink water before some exams?

When a patient needs to have their bladder, kidneys, unborn baby, and/or female reproductive system imaged, the patient must drink water, at least one hour prior to the examination, to fill the bladder. The bladder works as an "acoustic window", which means it helps the sound waves get to the organ(s) that need to be imaged. Plus by having a full bladder, the intestines that usually live between the pelvic organs and the bladder are moved out of the way so the technologist has a clearer view. By filling the bladder, the doctor can also assess the bladder wall for irregularities, and watch to confirm that the kidneys are draining properly into the bladder.

Often, when scanning unborn babies, the baby's head is very low in the mother's pelvis. By filling the bladder, the baby's head gets moved out of the mother's lower pelvis, thus allowing the baby's brain and skull to be imaged better.

Why do I need to fast for 8 hours before an abdomen examination?

Scanning the abdomen is very hard because of the intestines. In a normal person, the intestines are filled with air, fluid, and ingested food. These three things make imaging the abdominal organs nearly impossible. Ultrasound cannot image through air. By fasting for eight hours before the examination, the intestines are relatively empty, and the technologist can work around them to image the liver, gall bladder and bile ducts, main portal vein, pancreas, spleen, and kidneys. The other benefit of fasting for eight hours is that the gall bladder can be seen more readily. The gall bladder is a reservoir for bile and bile salts, which is made by the liver. When we eat and/or drink, the gall bladder contracts to expel bile into the small intestine to break down what we ingest. When the gall bladder is contracted, it is very hard to evaluate for possible problems. But by fasting for eight hours, the gall bladder is sufficiently full of bile and can be evaluated for size, shape, and irregularities.

When you are instructed to fast before an abdomen Ultrasound examination, it also includes no drinking, no chewing (gum, tobacco, etc), and no smoking. All of these will cause the gall bladder to contract, thus making Ultrasound identification next to impossible.

What's with the Gel? What is it for?

The Ultrasound gel is what makes sound transmission possible. Without the gel, no Ultrasound images can be produced. On the surface of everyone's skin, there are tiny micro-bubbles of air, body hair, and surface irregularities that interfere with sound transmission into the body. The Ultrasound gel gets rid of it all, and enhances the sound transmission from the transducer face into the body.

What it a Breast Ultrasound?

A Breast Ultrasound is a targeted examination to look more specifically at a small area within the breast. It is a secondary examination that is done after a Mammogram detects an area that needs further evaluation. A Breast Ultrasound is also done when a patient or their provider feels a possible breast lump.

WExamination Preparation:

  • Abdomen: Nothing to eat or drink for eight hours prior to examination. This includes no tobacco products, and no chewing gum.
  • Retroperitoneal (Kidneys): Nothing to eat for eight hours prior to examination. Please drink 20 ounces of water one hour prior to exam time.
  • Pelvis: Please drink 32 ounces of water one hour prior to examination time. Do not use the bathroom before exam time. (Example: your appointment is at 9:00. You may use the bathroom before 7:30. From 7:30 to 8:00 drink all 32 ounces of water and do not use the bathroom again)
  • Pediatric/Male Pelvis: Please drink at least 20 ounces of water one hour prior to exam time. Do not use the bathroom before exam time. Please see above for an example.
  • First Trimester Obstetrical: No preparation necessary.
  • Second/Third Trimester Obstetrical: Please drink 32 ounces of water one hour prior to examination time. Do not use the bathroom before exam time. Please see Pelvis preparation for an example.
  • Thyroid: No preparation necessary
  • Neo-Natal Intracranial: No preparation necessary
  • Aorta: Nothing to eat or drink for eight hours prior to examination time.
  • Venous/Deep Vein Duplex: No preparation necessary
  • Breast: No preparation necessary. If you are new to our imaging center and have had a Mammogram or Breast Ultrasound elsewhere please bring your prior films with you.
  • Superficial: No preparation necessary.
ultrasound machine

What makes our Ultrasound Different?

We have the newest Ultrasound machine available on the market. Our Toshiba Aplio has a special feature called Harmonics. Harmonics allows the technologist to enhance the Ultrasound image with the push of the button. In most machines, once the Harmonics button is pushed, the technologist's ability to manipulate the Ultrasound image decreases slightly. With the Toshiba Aplio, however, the Harmonics can be varied on the fly by the technologist, through a trade-marked application called Appli-Pure, so that the image is updated more frequently resulting in better image quality.

Another unique feature in our Ultrasound suite is that you, our patient, can choose to watch your examination on a television as it is being done. We have a flat screen television mounted on the wall so that you and your loved one may watch your examination as it is happening. When you come in to see your unborn baby, you get to watch him/her move in real-time.

Dr. Chris Malcom

Call: 208-454-0742

While Dr. Malcom treats a variety of patients, he also specializes in the treatment of vein disease, including those with pregnancy and post-pregnancy needing sclerotherapy or other vein surgery. He is one of the lead trainers, ensuring all vein doctors are able to carry out care at a high level but affordable price.

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Dr. Chris Malcom Idaho
Call Now For An Appointment 208-454-0742

Patient Testimonials

Misty Scott
Misty Scott

I had a pretty great experience here. Check in was easy since most of it was done over the phone prior to arrival. I was well taken care of during the whole imaging process. I was a little nervous but that went away quickly while being talked through the whole process and during the process. Very great staff!

Michael Dill
Michael Dill

They went above and beyond to help my diagnosis. The Ultrasound technician looked at my prostate, but it appeared normal, so she explored my abdomen. She then found a hernia! I believe it would have gone undetected and untreated if not for her persistence. Thanks to ALL at Imaging and Vein Center of Idaho for a positive experience during a scary time.

Dan and Amy Warner
Dan and Amy Warner

Everyone has been wonderful and very caring. Thank you all for everything. Oh and you really need to get banana flavored contrast drinks.😁

Susanne Buckley
Susanne Buckley

This staff and service was fantastic. They got me in the day after I called to make an appointment. Cash pay price was VERY reasonable. I highly recommend this facility.

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Boise's Best

Advanced Medical Imaging
boise idaho best award

We are driven by empathy and compassion and strive for our patients to have a good experience and successful exam. Every technologist is extensively educated in their field and is not only experienced, but also caring and committed to capturing the best diagnostic images.

Offering Board Certified Radiologists with subspecialities in Neuroradiology, Musculoskeletal, Body, Breast, Interventional and General Radiology.

Get a Good View of
Your Internal Anatomy


When you're getting ready for an imaging service to verify your healthcare provider's diagnosis, to check in on your new baby or to assess the damage your fall has done to your ankle, you need a variety of things. You'll need cutting-edge equipment to get a deeper view of your bodily systems, a friendly technologist to ease you through the imaging process and a knowledgeable radiologist to walk you through the results. You can count on the Teton Radiology to provide ideal imaging services.

Call 208-454-0742 now to learn more about our imaging services.

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Teton Radiology offers a wide range of imaging services to provide you and your physician with an understanding of what's going on inside your body. Our imaging services include:


MRI is a safe method of obtaining detailed pictures of internal body structures with the use of magnetic field and the radio frequency pulses.

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Ultrasound imaging (also called “sonography”) uses high-frequency sound waves to create visual images of the internal body structures.

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Fluoroscopy is a type of medical imaging that shows a continuous X-ray image on a monitor, much like an X-ray movie.

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Call Now For An Appointment 208-454-0742


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