3D and 4D Ultrasound

Geisinger Holy Spirit offers the latest equipment and techniques for general, vascular and obstetrical ultrasound.

What is Ultrasound?

Diagnostic ultrasound — also called sonography — is a safe, painless procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to take pictures of structures inside your body. These images can provide valuable information for diagnosing and treating a variety of diseases and conditions.

Reasons You May Get an Ultrasound

Ultrasound may be used to:

  • Assess a fetus
  • Evaluate abdominal pain
  • Diagnose a hernia
  • Diagnose gallbladder disease
  • Evaluate flow in blood vessels to detect blocked veins and arteries
  • Guide a needle for biopsy or tumor treatment
  • Evaluate a breast lump
  • Check your thyroid gland
  • Diagnose some forms of infection
  • Diagnose some forms of cancer
  • Reveal abnormalities in the genitalia and prostate
  • Evaluate abnormalities of the muscles and tendons

How to Prepare for an Ultrasound

How you prepare for an ultrasound depends on which area of your body needs evaluation:

  • Most ultrasound exams require no preparation.
  • Other exams – such as of the gallbladder – require that you forgo food and liquids for up to six hours before the exam.
  • Still other exams – such as a pelvic ultrasound – require that you not urinate before the exam to ensure that your bladder will be full, allowing better visualization of the uterus, ovaries or prostate.

When scheduling your ultrasound, ask your doctor for specific instructions for your particular exam.

What to Expect During an Ultrasound

A typical ultrasound lasts from 30 minutes to an hour.

During the ultrasound exam, you usually lie on an examination table. A small amount of gel is applied to your skin. The gel helps eliminate the formation of air pockets between the ultrasound and your body.

A technician trained in ultrasound imaging (sonographer) presses a small hand-held device (transducer), about the size of a bar of soap, against your skin over the areas of your body being examined, moving from one area to another as necessary.

Ultrasound is usually a painless procedure. However, you may experience some mild discomfort as the sonographer guides the transducer over your body, especially if you’re required to have a full bladder.

How Ultrasound Works

Based on the same principles as sonar, a technology used to detect underwater objects, the transducer generates and receives high-frequency sound waves that can’t be heard by the human ear.

As the sonographer places the transducer on your skin, crystals inside the transducer emit pulses of sound waves that travel into your body. Your tissues, bones and body fluids reflect the sound waves and bounce them back to the transducer. The transducer then sends this information to a computer, which composes detailed images based on the patterns created by the sound waves.

Though the majority of ultrasound exams are performed with a transducer on your skin, some ultrasounds are done inside your body (invasive ultrasounds). For these exams, a specialized transducer is inserted into a natural opening in your body.

When to Use Other Types of Diagnostic Tests

Although ultrasound is a valuable tool, it does have its limitations. Sound doesn’t travel well through air or bone, so ultrasound isn’t effective at imaging parts of your body that have gas in them or that are obscured by bone. Rather than using ultrasound to view these areas, your doctor may instead order other imaging tests, such as CT or MRI scans or x-rays.

Ultrasound is performed at Geisinger Holy Spirit and several of our conveniently located Outpatient Imaging Centers.

Find an Imaging Center near you.

Convenient Locations and Hours

For an appointment, call 717-972-4900.


Holy Spirit Camp Hill Center, 875 Poplar Church Road
Hours: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.

Holy Spirit Women’s Imaging Center, 875 Poplar Church Road, Suite 100 Lower Level
Hours: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.

The Ortenzio Heart Center at Holy Spirit, 503 N. 21st Street
(MRI and Nuclear Cardiology are located on the ground floor – at the 21st Street entrance)
Hours: (MRI available) Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday, 8 a.m. to noon.


Holy Spirit Carlisle Center, 1211 Forge Road
Hours: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.


Holy Spirit Dillsburg Center, 126 W. Church Street
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Friday 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Beginning May 15, Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.)


Holy Spirit Duncannon Center, 51 Business Campus Way
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Holy Spirit Progress Center, 20 Capital Drive
Hours: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.


Holy Spirit Cancer Center, 880 Century Drive
Hours: Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Holy Spirit Mechanicsburg Center, 4665 Trindle Road
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (5 p.m., beginning December 1)

Holy Spirit Silver Creek Center, 335 Lambs Gap Road
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.