We publish all our latest news to our Articles page, so you can stay on top of what is happening at Harley Ultrasound Group. We provide insight on a range of topics, including the latest Covid-19 news affecting our practice.

February 08, 2024
By Heba Alkutbi

Anomaly Scan / Anatomy Scan: What should you expect?

Pregnancy is a journey filled with moments of joy and anticipation, and the anomaly scan—or anatomy scan—is a significant and exciting milestone.

This article will guide you through what an anomaly scan is, what to expect during the procedure, the findings you might encounter, and how to interpret the results.

If you have any questions or concerns or would like to schedule an appointment, please don't hesitate to contact us today.

What Is the Anomaly Scan?

The anatomy scan is typically conducted between 18 and 23 weeks of pregnancy. It is a comprehensive ultrasound examination focusing on your baby's anatomy.

Unlike earlier scans that assess gestational age, this scan dives deeper, meticulously evaluating the development of your little one's organs and systems.

Think of it as a detailed tour of your baby's development, providing a snapshot of their growth and flagging potential health concerns.

What Is Checked During the Scan?

During the mid-pregnancy scan, the sonographer will carefully examine various aspects of your baby's development to check for any signs of abnormalities or developmental issues.

Here's what our anatomy scan includes:

  • Detailed Check of Foetal Anatomy: This crucial part of the scan examines your baby's physical development in detail. The sonographer looks at the brain, spinal cord, face, heart, abdomen, kidneys, bladder, arms, and legs to check for any developmental abnormalities.

  • Foetal Biometry: This involves measuring different parts of your baby's body to assess growth and development. The sonographer will measure the head circumference, abdominal circumference, and femur (thigh bone) length. These measurements are used to calculate the estimated foetal weight (EFW) and plotted on a growth chart to assess how your baby is growing compared to typical growth standards.

  • Amniotic Fluid Assessment: The sonographer evaluates the amount of amniotic fluid surrounding your baby. The volume of amniotic fluid is a key indicator of your baby's well-being and can affect the pregnancy outcome.

  • Placenta Position Assessment: The scan includes checking the position of the placenta. Its location is important, as it can affect the delivery method. For example, a low-lying placenta (placenta praevia) may make a caesarean section more likely.

  • Cervical Assessment: The scan often includes an evaluation of the cervix. This is usually done transabdominally (over your tummy). But in some cases, if there are concerns, a transvaginal scan may be performed with your consent. This helps to check for signs of preterm labour.

  • Sex Determination: If requested and if the baby is in a suitable position, the sonographer can inform you of your baby's sex during the scan.

In the rare event that an anomaly is suspected, Harley Street Ultrasound prioritises immediate and appropriate action. A referral to a foetal medicine specialist will be made to ensure that you receive expert care. We are committed to providing our patients with the highest standard of medical care and ensuring the health and well-being of your baby.

The Procedure: What to Expect

On the day of your anomaly scan at Harley Street Ultrasound, you can expect a straightforward and non-invasive procedure. Here's a breakdown of what typically happens:

  • Preparation: You might be asked to come with a full bladder, as this can improve the visibility of the ultrasound images. Generally, you'll need to drink about four glasses of water 45 minutes before your appointment.

  • The Scan Process: A sonographer will apply a special gel to your abdomen and move a handheld device called a transducer across your skin. The transducer emits safe, high-frequency sound waves that create images of your baby on a monitor.

  • Duration: The scan usually takes about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on factors like your baby's position and movement.

  • Comfort and Safety: The procedure is generally painless, but you might feel mild discomfort due to pressure from the transducer. If you experience pain at any point, please let your specialists know.

Potential Findings of the Anomaly Scan

The anatomy scan provides valuable insights into your baby's health and development. In most cases, the scan confirms that your little one is growing typically and all organs are functioning normally.

However, the scan can also detect potential anomalies or malformations, such as:

  • Chromosomal Abnormalities: Structural abnormalities like down syndrome, trisomy 18, and other chromosomal conditions

  • Structural Abnormalities: Congenital heart defects, spina bifida, or limb malformations

  • Growth Concerns: Intrauterine growth restriction or macrosomia

Accuracy and Limitations of the 20-Week Pregnancy Scan

It's important to understand that while the anomaly scan effectively detects certain conditions, it's not infallible.

Factors like the baby's position, amniotic fluid levels, maternal body weight, and scar tissue can affect visibility. Some conditions that develop later in pregnancy or affect the baby's heart may not be detectable at this stage.

Your sonographer will clarify these limitations with you during your appointment.

Interpreting the Results

After the scan, the sonographer will discuss the findings with you. They may seek a second opinion or recommend further diagnostic tests if any concerns arise.

Most scans show that the baby is developing normally. Still, in some instances, additional scans may be suggested for various reasons, including medication use, pre-existing medical conditions, or inconclusive findings. Images are all sent to our patients post scan.

Follow-Up and Support

Discovering a potential health issue during the mid-pregnancy scan can be daunting. Harley Street Ultrasound ensures that you receive comprehensive support and guidance. This may include planning for any necessary medical interventions post-birth or arranging delivery in a specialised facility if needed.

FAQs About the Anomaly Scan

Is the anomaly scan safe for my baby?

Yes. The anomaly scan is a safe and standard procedure. Ultrasound technology has been used for decades and has no known risks to the mother or baby.

Can I find out the gender of my baby during the scan?

If you wish to know your baby's gender, you can usually find out during the anomaly scan, provided the baby is in a suitable position for the sonographer to tell.

What should I do if the scan reveals a problem?

If any issues are detected, your healthcare provider will discuss the findings with you and suggest the next steps, which may include further tests or consultations with specialists.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

The anomaly scan is a key milestone in your pregnancy journey, providing valuable insights into your baby's development.

At Harley Street Ultrasound, we ensure that this experience is as informative and reassuring as possible. For more information or to schedule your anatomy scan, visit our anatomy scan page.


February 01, 2024
By Heba Alkutbi

Dating Scan / 12 Week Scan: What should you expect?

At 12 weeks, the countdown to meeting your little one officially begins!

This important prenatal scan marks your first chance to peek into their tiny world, revealing exciting details and addressing any early concerns.

In this article, we'll explain what the scan is, why you might choose to get one, and what to expect during the procedure. It's an exciting time, and the more you know, the more empowered you become to make the right decisions for you and your growing family.

If you are ready to schedule your dating scan, book online today. And please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or concerns. We're here to help.

What Is a Dating Scan?

A dating ultrasound is usually conducted between 10 and 15 weeks of pregnancy. It's an ultrasound examination that determines the gestational age of your baby.

By measuring your baby's size, our specialist sonographers estimate your due date, also known as the Estimated Date of Delivery (EDD). This scan is crucial for planning upcoming tests and scans throughout your pregnancy journey.

What You Need to Know About the Dating Ultrasound Procedure 

The scan is a safe and non-invasive procedure. Our compassionate team will always ensure your comfort.

To prepare, you may be advised to have a full bladder to enhance the visibility of the ultrasound. 

The ultrasound technician will apply a gel on your abdomen and use a small device called a transducer to scan your belly. You might feel slight pressure, but there should be no pain. If you feel any discomfort, let your technician know immediately.

The process usually takes around 20 minutes, during which the sonographer will measure your baby and examine their development.

Is a Dating Scan Compulsory?

When you start your pregnancy journey, you will encounter several choices regarding prenatal testing. One common question is whether a dating scan is compulsory.

The simple answer is no; it's not a mandatory procedure. The decision to undergo a dating scan rests entirely with you. This scan is offered as a part of standard prenatal care to provide valuable information about your pregnancy, but it's ultimately your choice to accept or decline it.

We encourage open discussions with your healthcare provider to understand the benefits and make an informed decision that aligns with your comfort and needs.

What Are the Risks?

Ultrasound scans—including the dating scan—are widely regarded as safe for both mother and baby. They use sound waves to create an image and do not involve radiation, making them a non-invasive and low-risk procedure.

When to Get Your Dating Scan

The timing of your 12-week scan is key. Generally, the ideal window is between 10 and 14 weeks of pregnancy. This timeframe allows for clear visibility and accuracy in measuring your baby's development.

Scheduling your scan within this period ensures you receive the most reliable EDD, which is crucial for planning future prenatal tests and understanding the stages of foetal development.

If you have irregular menstrual cycles or are unsure about the date of your last period, an early dating scan can be particularly helpful in determining your pregnancy timeline.

What You Will Learn During the 12-Week Ultrasound

This ultrasound is not just about determining the due date; it's also an opportunity to check for multiple pregnancies and significant foetal anomalies.

Our experts assess the baby's heartbeat and development pace. They also check for conditions like Down's syndrome, Edwards' syndrome, and Patau's syndrome through the combined test, which includes a blood test and nuchal translucency measurement.

Interpreting the Results

The results from your dating scan will provide a more accurate due date than estimations based on your menstrual cycle. This accuracy is vital for managing your pregnancy, especially if there are concerns about premature birth or overdue delivery.

Post-Scan Considerations

After your 12-week scan, you can return to your usual activities. The sonographer or your doctor may discuss the findings with you and advise on any additional steps or follow-up scans, especially if potential health concerns are identified.


Can the 12-week ultrasound show the gender of my baby?

At 12 weeks, it's usually too early to determine the baby's gender with certainty. The primary focus of the dating scan is to assess the baby's development and estimate your due date. Gender identification is more likely during the fetal well being scan, typically around 16 to 18 weeks.

Should I prepare anything for my dating scan?

To enhance the clarity of the ultrasound image, you might want to have a full bladder during the scan. Drinking a few glasses of water an hour before your appointment can help with this. Otherwise, no special preparation is needed.

Will I receive images of my baby?

Yes, after the scan, you will typically be given images of your baby. These first pictures are a wonderful keepsake and provide a tangible connection to the life developing inside you.

Is the 12-week scan painful?

It's natural to have concerns about any medical procedure, especially during pregnancy. Rest assured, the 12-week scan is a painless process. 

How accurate is the dating scan in predicting the due date?

The dating scan is the most accurate way to predict your due date, especially when done between 10 and 14 weeks of pregnancy. While it provides an EDD, it's important to remember that only about 5% of babies are born on their exact due date. This scan gives a more accurate timeline compared to date calculations based on menstrual cycles, especially if your periods are irregular.

Schedule Your 12-Week Scan Today

The 12-week scan is a fundamental part of your pregnancy journey, offering crucial insights into your baby's development and health.

At Harley Street Ultrasound, we are committed to providing a supportive, informative, and compassionate experience during this significant moment in your pregnancy. Schedule your appointment today.


January 24, 2024
By Dr Shayan Ahmed

Elbow Lumps: Causes, symptoms and how an ultrasound can help with diagnosis

An elbow lump is an abnormal bump, swelling, or protrusion on the inner or outer side of the elbow. Lumps can appear on the elbow for a number of reasons, including injury, disease, and skin infection.

Elbow lumps occur deep within the joint or just underneath or on the surface of the skin. They can also range from small to big, harmful to benign, and soft to hard. Some may also get inflamed, making them pulsatile, painful, tender, or itchy. In extreme cases, lumps in the elbow can decrease the range of motion in the forearm and may cause permanent tissue damage around the joint if left untreated.

This article explores the different types of elbow lumps, their possible causes, noticeable symptoms, and potential treatment options. We’ll also discuss the importance of proper diagnosis in elbow lump treatment and how an elbow and forearm ultrasound scan helps detect and diagnose harmful lumps.

Elbow lump causes, types, and treatments

Elbow lumps are generally classified based on their causes. It’s difficult to distinguish lumps in the elbow without considering their roots. Additionally, elbow lumps are sometimes an indication or symptom of an underlying health condition.

Here’s a list of seven types of elbow lumps based on their causes:

Injury-induced elbow lumps

Three bones — the humerus, radius, and ulna — join to form the elbow. A fracture or dislocation of any of these bones can cause a lump to form.

Also, the tendons attaching muscles to the three bones can tear due to traumatic, posture-related, or overuse injuries, leading to the formation of a lump. Such is the case with tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) (1) and golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) (2).

Injury-induced elbow lumps are usually a result of inflammation. As such, they go away as the injury heals. Some of the more stubborn lumps may warrant draining, medication, or other interventions.


Cysts are sac-like cavities of membranous tissue containing fluid, gas, or semisolid material. Most cysts are caused by infections, injuries, or parasites and can form on any part of the body or the skin. On rare occasions, some cysts turn out to be tumours.

Cysts sometimes form on the elbow as noticeable lumps. There are two common types of cysts that cause lumps in the elbow:

  • Sebaceous cysts — caused by trauma or damage to the skin’s sebaceous glands, which produce sebum, an oily substance that protects the skin

  • Ganglion cysts — jell-filled lumps that appear along joints and tendons, usually linked to injury or trauma

Most cysts are harmless and only require medical care if they compromise movement or cause pain in the elbow. If necessary, a cyst can be drained, treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, or surgically removed, depending on its severity.

Elbow bursitis

Bursae are thin, slippery sacs of jell-like fluid tucked between joint bones and soft tissues. They provide cushioning and reduce friction in joints. Your elbow has several bursae (3), including the subtendinous, olecranon, bicipitoradial, and interosseous bursae.

If any of these bursae become inflamed (bursitis) due to injury or overuse, it fills with fluid and swells into a lump. This is most noticeable in the olecranon bursa covering the tip of the elbow.

Mild cases of elbow bursitis are treated with ice and compression. Oral anti-inflammatory drugs also help reduce the swelling. Your doctor may recommend draining the affected bursa if the simpler remedies do not work.


Warts (4) are small, thick, grainy skin growths that usually form on fingers and hands but may also appear on the elbow. They are caused by viral infections, particularly the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Treatment for warts begins with addressing the viral infection. Once that's done, the next step is to destroy the wart. Wart removal may involve salicylic acid patches, cryotherapy, minor surgery, or laser treatment, depending on the wart's resilience.

Lipomas lumps

A lipoma (5) is a doughy, slow-growing fatty lump under the skin. Lipomas are non-cancerous and usually harmless. However, they can affect movement in the elbow and even cause pain if they grow too big.

Treatment for lipoma generally isn't necessary unless the lump becomes bothersome, in which case surgical removal or minor liposuction may be in order.


A lump in your elbow could be a dreaded tumour. Cancer can develop in the elbow or spread there from another body part, forming a clump of cancer cells that appear as a lump.

Synovial sarcoma (6) is one of the most common soft tissue cancers found in the elbow. Other cancers known to affect the elbow include myxofibrosarcoma and pleomorphic sarcoma. These cancers form tumours in joint ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Basal cell carcinoma, a slow-growing skin cancer, can form lumps around the elbow too.

Elbow tumours are treated like regular cancer tumours. Common treatment options include surgical removal, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and immunotherapy.

Disease-caused elbow lumps

Lastly, joint and skin-related diseases can cause lumps on one or both of your elbows. Common culprits of elbow lumps include:

  • Bacterial infections

  • Eczema

  • Gout

  • Arthritis

  • Psoriasis

  • Scabies

  • Cellulitis

  • Dermatitis herpetiformis

  • Neurological disorders

Treating these kinds of elbow lumps means treating the underlying disease rather than the lump itself. Although in some cases, rehabilitative or more targeted therapies are needed to get rid of persistent lumps.

The signs and symptoms of elbow lumps

The obvious sign of an elbow lump is a noticeable swelling or bump on the inner or outer side of the elbow. In addition to that, here are other symptoms you might experience when there’s a lump on your elbow:

  • Pain, tenderness, or throbbing on the lump itself or the area around it

  • Other visual deformities on the elbow

  • Decreased range of motion in the elbow joint or forearm

  • Redness, warmth, or discolouration on the elbow

  • Tingling sensation or numbness in the arm and fingers

  • Clicking or popping sounds when opening/closing your fingers, twisting your wrist, or bending/straightening your elbow

  • Loss of strength in the arm

  • Weak grip

Note that the symptoms will depend on the type of lump, what caused it, and how severe it is. In fact, you might not experience any accompanying symptoms with your lump besides the swelling.

Diagnosing elbow lumps with an ultrasound scan

Lumps and other deformities around the elbow can have many different causes. And as we’ve seen, treatment for an elbow lump largely depends on the cause and type of lump. An elbow and forearm ultrasound scan is a quick, accurate, and non-invasive way to diagnose a lump in order to determine the right treatment plan or if treatment is necessary at all.

An ultrasound scan paints a vivid real-time picture of the various bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles making up your elbow and forearm. The live ultrasound feed can also capture movements in the joint and forearm.

By peering deep beneath the skin, an ultrasound scan can reveal the following abnormalities related to elbow lumps and other issues:

  • Tendonitis (inflamed tendons)

  • Tendinosis (tendon degeneration due to overuse)

  • Bone fractures on the humerus, radius, or ulna

  • Tears in the various ligaments and tendons

  • Olecranon bursitis

  • Physical tissue damage

  • Bone dislocations and misalignments

  • Neurological disorders such as median nerve entrapment syndrome (7), radial tunnel syndrome (8), and cubital tunnel syndrome (9)

  • Tumours, cysts, and lipomas

  • Signs of arthritis

  • Obstructions to the normal range of motion in the elbow and forearm

Get a private elbow and forearm ultrasound scan today

A forearm and elbow ultrasound scan is a simple, painless procedure taking only 20-30 minutes. At Harley Street Ultrasound Group, all scans are performed by friendly specialist doctors eager to address all your concerns. Plus, you get your scan results on the same day, along with tailored advice and recommendations.

You must be curious about what happens during an elbow and forearm ultrasound scan appointment. Well, here’s a breakdown of the procedure:

There's no preparation required on your part. But we do recommend wearing comfortable, loose-fitting tops that will allow you to expose your arm for the scan without undressing. It's also a good idea to leave your jewellery at home.

Once in the scanning room, the ultrasound specialist will ask you to lie or sit on the examination table.

After a brief visual examination and flexing (if necessary and possible) of the affected elbow, the specialist will position the arm on the table and apply a clear water-based gel around the affected area. The gel acts as a lubricant, making it easier to slide the scanning probe over the skin.

When ready, the specialist moves the probe back and forth over the affected area, occasionally stopping to take still images. The images and live feed are projected on a screen. This is the actual scanning process.

Scanning takes mere minutes. The specialist will let you know when it’s done.

Once the scan is complete, the excess gel will be wiped off, and you can put your top back on if you had removed it before the scan.

After that, the specialist will diagnose the elbow lump immediately and generate an official ultrasound scan report. If the results show cause for medical concern, the specialist may recommend appropriate treatments or more tests.

And that's it. An ultrasound is a non-invasive procedure with no drugs, side effects, or aftercare to worry about.

Harley Street Ultrasound Group is a fully registered and certified imaging centre. On top of that, we prioritize your health and peace of mind above all else. Visit our Harley Street clinic for expert ultrasound scans. And don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions — or just to say hello.


January 18, 2024
By Heba Alkutbi

Gender Scan: What should you expect?

The pregnancy journey is filled with moments of excitement and anticipation, and one of the most eagerly awaited is the gender scan.

This special ultrasound is usually performed between 18 and 22 weeks of pregnancy. It not only offers the first opportunity to learn your baby's gender but also provides essential insights into their development.

If you have any questions about the gender ultrasound, please get in touch. Our friendly team is here to assist in any way we can.

What Is a Gender Scan?

A gender scan is an ultrasound examination conducted mid-pregnancy to determine the sex of your baby. 

While gender scans are generally very accurate, it's important to remember that no scan is 100% definitive. Factors such as the baby's position can affect visibility. 

Regardless, this non-invasive scan is an exciting milestone for many parents-to-be, offering a glimpse into the world of their growing baby. Beyond revealing gender, the scan also checks the baby's overall development and well-being.

What to Expect During the Gender Reveal Scan

On the day of your gender ultrasound, expect a straightforward and comfortable experience.

The sonographer will apply a special gel to your abdomen and gently glide a transducer across your skin. This device emits sound waves that create an image of your baby on a monitor.

You'll be able to see your baby's movements and, in most cases, find out if you're having a boy or a girl.

What You Will Learn

For many, the highlight of the gender scan is, of course, confirming your baby's health and discovering whether you're expecting a son or a daughter.

However, the scan also assesses foetal growth, checks the placenta's position, and evaluates the amount of amniotic fluid. It's an overall check-up for your baby, ensuring a healthy pregnancy.

Here's a more detailed breakdown:

Foetal Biometry

This involves measuring your baby to estimate their size. These measurements are crucial as they help our specialists calculate the Estimated Foetal Weight (EFW). Your consultant will then plot this data on a growth chart, allowing you to see how your baby is progressing compared to typical growth milestones.

Amniotic Fluid Assessment

The amniotic fluid is a vital component of your baby's environment in the womb. During the scan, we assess the volume and quality of this fluid, ensuring it is at an optimal level for your baby's development and well-being.

Placental Location

Understanding the position of the placenta is important for several reasons, including planning for delivery. The scan evaluates the placenta's location, checking for any conditions like placenta previa that might impact your pregnancy.

Cervical Assessment

We also examine the cervix's length and opening. Typically, this is done via a transabdominal ultrasound, where the transducer is placed on your abdomen. If any anomalies are suspected, and with your consent, a transvaginal ultrasound may be performed. This involves inserting a small, tampon-like probe into the vagina, which is quick and generally painless.

Basic Anatomy Check

This check is preliminary and does not replace the detailed anomaly scan between 18 and 24 weeks. For those who require or prefer a private service, Harley Street Ultrasound also offers comprehensive anomaly scans.

Keeping Gender a Surprise—It's Your Choice

The gender reveal is one of the most anticipated stages of the pregnancy journey for many parents-to-be. However, not everyone wishes to learn their baby's gender before birth. At Harley Street Ultrasound, we understand and respect the variety of preferences when it comes to this special moment.

So, if you prefer to keep your baby's gender a surprise until delivery, simply communicate this wish to your specialist before the scan begins. Our team is committed to honouring your preferences and ensuring your experience is tailored to your desires.

After the Gender Scan

Following your scan, you can resume your normal activities right away. The sonographer will discuss the findings with you and provide images of your baby. If there are any concerns or anomalies detected during the scan, they will advise you on the next steps.


Can I bring family or friends to the gender reveal scan?

Absolutely! We understand that a gender scan is a special moment, and sharing it with loved ones can make it even more memorable. Feel free to bring your family or friends along for the appointment. Just give us a heads-up beforehand to know about any guidelines we might have on the number of people you can bring.

How long does the gender ultrasound take?

Expect the gender scan to last around 20 to 30 minutes. This gives our team enough time to do a detailed check, make sure everything's going well with your baby's development, and find out the gender if you want to know. Sometimes, the scan's duration might vary depending on how your baby is positioned and how clear the images are.

What should I do if the scan cannot determine the gender?

It's rare, but sometimes we can't figure out the gender during the scan, maybe because of how the baby is lying. No worries—we can always schedule another scan a bit later to give it another try. It's just one of those things; sometimes, babies don't sit still for us, and that can affect what we can and cannot see.

How accurate are gender reveal ultrasounds?

Gender reveal ultrasounds are usually spot-on, but they're not 100% all the time. One study found that they're about 87.6% accurate for boys and 96.8% for girls.

Ready to Schedule Your Ultrasound?

A gender scan is a memorable part of your pregnancy journey. At Harley Street Ultrasound, we are committed to providing a supportive and informative experience, helping you to connect with your baby and enjoy this special moment.

If you are ready to schedule an appointment, get in touch or book online. We look forward to welcoming you and your family into our London clinic.


January 10, 2024
By Dr Shayan Ahmed

Shoulder Pain Causes, Treatment & Symptoms

Shoulder injuries can be more than just a nuisance. It can disrupt your daily routine, limiting your movements and causing discomfort that's hard to ignore.

Your shoulder is a highly flexible ball-and-socket joint made up of the humerus (your upper arm bone), the clavicle (your collarbone), and the scapula (or the shoulder blade). These bones are nestled in a cushion of cartilage, allowing your shoulder its wide range of motion. This means you can swing your arm in circles, reach both forwards and backward, and lift things up high.

Much of this impressive flexibility comes from your rotator cuff, four tendons that connect your muscles to your bones. But, like any hardworking part of the body, it can get injured or inflamed, making simple actions like lifting your arm a real challenge.

Managing shoulder pain often starts at home with some rest and care, but sometimes, it needs a bit more attention. This is where treatments like physical therapy, medication, or even surgery come into play. 

Understanding what's causing your shoulder pain is key to finding the proper treatment and preventing further issues. Schedule your shoulder ultrasound scan today or learn more below.

Shoulder Pain Causes and Types

Understanding the potential causes and shoulder pain types is crucial for an accurate diagnosis and treatment. Let's take a look at the common shoulder issues you might be experiencing:

Bone Spurs

Small, smooth bone growths (osteophytes) can wear on the rotator cuff, causing tendinitis or a rotator cuff tear and restricting shoulder movement.


Repetitive motions or injuries can inflame the bursa, a cushioning sac in the joint. This leads to pain most noticeable during shoulder movement.

Cartilage Tear

Repeated motion or injury can tear the cartilage around the shoulder joint, causing pain, especially when reaching overhead. It can also create sensations of catching, locking, or grinding.


If the shoulder is excessively pulled back or rotated, the arm's top can dislocate from its socket, causing pain, weakness, swelling, numbness, and bruising.


A fall or a hard hit can fracture bones like the clavicle or humerus. This results in intense pain, bruising, and, in the case of a broken collarbone, a sagging shoulder and inability to lift the arm.

Frozen Shoulder

Characterised by limited joint movement due to abnormal tissue bands (adhesions), frozen shoulder can occur from reduced usage following pain or surgery.

Heart Attack

Shoulder pain accompanied by breathing difficulty or chest tightness could be a medical emergency requiring immediate attention.


This condition arises when the rotator cuff tendons get pinched in the shoulder bones, causing swelling and pain often exacerbated by lifting the arms overhead.


A common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis involves cartilage breakdown between bones, resulting in pain and stiffness in the shoulders.

Referred Pain

Shoulder pain without an apparent shoulder issue can indicate problems with other organs like the gallbladder or liver.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

An autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis attacks the joint lining, leading to shoulder pain and stiffness.

Rotator Cuff Tear

The rotator cuff can be damaged through overuse, ageing, or injury, leading to pain (especially at night), difficulty lifting the arm, and a crackling sound during movement.


This injury affects the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, where the collarbone and shoulder blade meet. A fall or a hard blow can tear the ligaments, leading to a noticeable bump on the shoulder.


An inflammation of the rotator cuff tendons, tendinitis can develop over time or from injury, leading to pain in the shoulder.

Shoulder Pain Diagnosis

When you visit a doctor with concerns about shoulder pain, they will first conduct a physical exam. This is to check for structural problems and ensure the pain isn't related to your spine or neck.

Your doctor will assess the strength and flexibility of your shoulder. This involves various movements like lifting your arms above your head, across your body, behind you, and rotating them to different degrees.

Shoulder Injury Diagnosis: The Role of Shoulder Ultrasounds

To gain a deeper insight into your shoulder injury, your doctor might recommend an ultrasound scan. Ultrasound is a non-invasive medical imaging technology that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the inside of your body.

What Can an Ultrasound Check For?

  • Shoulder Joint: Ultrasound can assess the condition of your shoulder joint.

  • Range of Movement: It helps in evaluating the causes of pain and any restrictions in movement.

  • Tendons, Muscles, and Ligaments: The scan provides a clear picture of these structures in and around your shoulder.

  • Inflammation and Fluid: Ultrasound can detect any inflammation or fluid accumulation.

  • Lumps: It helps identify abnormal growths.

  • Abnormalities and Other Causes of Concern: Ultrasound aids in identifying any specific concerns that might need further investigation or treatment.

The Ultrasound Process

If it's your first time undergoing a shoulder ultrasound, you might be curious about the procedure. Here's what to expect:

  • A shoulder ultrasound is painless and usually takes between 15 and 30 minutes.

  • The doctor or specialist will apply a clear, water-based gel to your affected shoulder. This gel helps the ultrasound probe move smoothly over your skin.

  • As the probe moves over your shoulder, it projects images of your shoulder muscles, joints, and surrounding soft tissues onto a screen.

  • These images allow your doctor to see inside your shoulder and diagnose the cause of your discomfort or pain.

Once the ultrasound is complete, you can typically go home right away. No specific aftercare is required, although follow-up treatment may be necessary depending on your diagnosis. Your doctor can often provide results immediately.

Treating Shoulder Pain

To treat your shoulder pain, it's essential to pinpoint the exact cause and how severe it is. How you manage it can vary, from simple care at home to more involved medical treatments.

Home Treatment Strategies

For minor shoulder pain, you may find these home remedies effective:

  • Icing: Apply ice to the shoulder for 15 to 20 minutes, three to four times a day, for several days. Always use an ice bag or wrap the ice in a towel to avoid direct skin contact.

  • Rest: Allow the shoulder to rest for a few days, avoiding movements and activities that exacerbate the pain.

  • Over-the-Counter Medication: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) available without a prescription can help reduce pain and inflammation.

  • Compression: An elastic bandage can be used to compress the area, which helps in reducing swelling.

Medical Interventions

Depending on the specific shoulder issue, your doctor may suggest:

  • Physical or Occupational Therapy: These therapies are crucial for rehabilitation, especially after injuries or surgery.

  • Use of a Sling: For certain conditions like dislocations, separations, and fractures, immobilising the shoulder is necessary for healing.

  • Medication: NSAIDs are often recommended or prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation. In more severe cases, corticosteroids—either orally or via injection directly into the shoulder—can be used.

  • Surgery: Surgical intervention may be required for persistent issues such as cartilage tears, rotator cuff injuries, or frozen shoulder that don't respond to conservative treatments.

Ongoing Management and Exercises

Regardless of the shoulder injury type and severity of the issue, a key component of treatment often includes exercises aimed at improving the range of motion, strength, and flexibility of the joint. These exercises are essential for recovery and for preventing future complications.

Overcoming Shoulder Pain

Don't let shoulder pain hold you back any longer. Take the first step towards recovery and enhanced well-being. Book an ultrasound appointment online today, and let our dedicated team give you the answers you deserve.

Resources: shoulder-pain-and-common-shoulder-problems/

December 22, 2023
By Dr Shayan Ahmed

Shoulder Lumps: Causes, symptoms and how an ultrasound can help with diagnosis

Discovering a lump in your shoulder can be an unsettling experience, causing both physical discomfort and a wave of concern.

It's important to understand potential shoulder lump causes, recognise the accompanying symptoms, and explore the available diagnostic methods to gain clarity and peace of mind. This includes safe, non-invasive shoulder ultrasound scans

Types of Lumps in Shoulder

A lump in your shoulder could be caused by one of many conditions (1), each with its own distinctive characteristics. Learning about the various types of shoulder lumps is crucial in identifying the specific condition and determining the appropriate course of action for diagnosis and treatment.


One cause of shoulder lumps is a skin abscess (2), which is a pus-filled lump deep under the skin. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection and can appear as a round, firm, and sometimes painful lump.

Abscesses may also exhibit redness, pus drainage, and warmth to the touch and can be accompanied by fever and chills.


Shoulder lumps can be related to arthritis, which is joint inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can cause rheumatoid nodules, which are flesh-coloured, hard or dough-like lumps that usually appear on bony areas like the shoulders.

Osteoarthritis (OA) can lead to bone spurs called osteophytes, which often occur around affected joints. Osteophytes on the shoulders, neck, knees, fingers, and feet may not always cause symptoms but can result in pain or limited joint motion if they press on nerves or tissues.


While rare, a shoulder lump could indicate soft tissue sarcoma, a type of cancer that forms tumours in connective tissues like muscles, tendons, and nerves (3). Soft tissue sarcomas are typically painless but can cause pain and restricted movement as they progress.

Squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer, can also cause shoulder lumps in the form of rough, scaly patches resembling warts.


Shoulder lumps can also be cysts, which are closed sacs of tissue containing pus, air, or fluid. Different types of cysts can develop on the shoulder and around the shoulder area, such as epidermoid cysts, paralabral cysts, ganglion cysts, and bone cysts.

Epidermoid cysts are painless coloured sacs filled with keratin, while paralabral cysts contain joint fluid and can sometimes cause pain if they press against nerves or tear surrounding cartilage.


A lipoma (4) is a benign fatty tissue lump that often appears on the neck, shoulder, and armpits. It is typically rubbery, soft, and doughy to the touch.

While lipomas are usually painless, they can cause discomfort if they press on blood vessels or nerves.


Shoulder lumps can form following a shoulder injury, such as a fracture, separation, or muscle contusion. Fractures occur when a shoulder bone breaks, resulting in pain and swelling. You may also develop a lump in the area the bone broke.

Separated shoulders occur when ligaments connecting the collarbone and shoulder blade rip apart, causing a lump on top of the shoulder. Muscle contusions, or injuries to the muscle fibres, can cause swelling, bluish discolouration, and the formation of a lump called a hematoma.


Muscle knots, also known as myofascial trigger points, can occur in any body part, including the neck and shoulder area. They are groups of tense muscle fibres that result from muscle tissue contracting even when at rest.

Symptoms of muscle knots include pain, sensitivity, and swelling. A lack of activity or too much use can cause muscle knots. In contrast, exercise and massages can help alleviate them.

Pimples or Warts

Shoulder lumps can also be large pimples or warts. Pimples occur when pores are full of dead skin cells and oil. Larger pimples, such as cystic acne and nodules, can be painful.

Warts — caused by a human papillomavirus (HPV) infection (5) — can occasionally appear on the shoulders, although they are more common on the hands. They can be small or large in size, bumpy or smooth, and may have various colours.

Diagnosing Shoulder Lumps

From physical examinations to advanced imaging techniques such as ultrasound, each diagnostic tool plays a crucial role in uncovering the underlying cause of the shoulder lump and guiding effective treatment decisions.

Physical Exam

A doctor will perform a physical exam, examining the lump by touch and looking for associated symptoms like redness and swelling. This evaluation helps determine the appropriate diagnostic approach.

MRI Scan

An MRI scan utilises radio waves to capture detailed images of soft tissues, providing valuable information for diagnosing shoulder lumps.


If a lump is suspected to be on the bone, an X-ray may be necessary to obtain images of the affected area and assess any bone-related abnormalities.

CT Scan

A CT scan involves taking X-rays from multiple angles to generate cross-sectional images, aiding in the diagnosis of shoulder lumps.


In cases where a lipoma or tumour is suspected, a doctor may recommend a biopsy. This procedure involves taking a sample of tissue from the lump and examining it in a laboratory to determine its nature.


A shoulder ultrasound can play a crucial role in diagnosing various types of shoulder lumps. The quick, non-invasive, painless medical imaging technology uses sound waves to capture pictures of the inside workings of your shoulder.

It allows for the visualisation of the shoulder joint, assessment of pain and range of movement, and evaluation of tendons, muscles, and ligaments. Specialists can also identify signs of inflammation and fluid, assess abnormalities, and flag any causes of concern.

The ultrasound scan provides real-time imaging, enabling doctors to make accurate diagnoses based on the captured images.

What to Expect from Your Shoulder Ultrasound

A shoulder ultrasound typically lasts between 15 and 30 minutes. The doctor or specialist will apply a clear, water-based gel to the affected shoulder, easing the movement of the ultrasound probe over the skin without causing discomfort.

The probe will emit sound waves and capture images of the muscles, joints, and soft tissues in the shoulder region. These images will help the doctor identify the underlying cause of the shoulder lump and provide an accurate diagnosis.

After the ultrasound, no specific aftercare is required, though follow-up treatment may be necessary based on the diagnosis.

When to Seek Medical Assistance

If a shoulder lump persists for more than two weeks, grows in size, causes pain or discomfort, or does not move, visit a doctor for further evaluation.

Seeking immediate medical attention is crucial in cases where the shoulder lump is a result of a recent injury or if there are signs of a serious condition.

Schedule a Shoulder Ultrasound Today

Shoulder lumps can vary in size, texture, and pain levels. While most lumps are harmless, it is essential to seek medical advice for proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Ultrasound is key in diagnosing lumps, providing detailed insights into the underlying shoulder lump causes. If you're experiencing shoulder lumps, schedule an ultrasound with our dedicated team of medical professionals to ensure a timely and accurate diagnosis. Book your appointment now.

Don't ignore persistent or concerning shoulder lumps; take proactive steps to address them and regain your shoulder's health and comfort.

December 13, 2023
By Dr Ayman Mahfouz

Testicular Lumps: Causes, symptoms and how an ultrasound can help with diagnosis

A testicular lump is any mass that forms in one or both of the testicles. They are quite common and can occur at any age. Adult men, teenagers, and even younger boys can experience lumps, which might appear in one or both testicles.

Finding a lump doesn't necessarily mean something serious. In fact, most lumps are harmless or benign, meaning they're not cancerous and often don't need treatment. However, it's wise not to overlook them—they can also indicate an underlying medical issue that needs attention.

Your health truly is your greatest wealth, so if you notice any changes at all, get them checked out by a trusted healthcare professional. Schedule your testicular ultrasound scan today, get in touch, or learn more below.

The more you know, the better equipped you are to take steps toward optimal health.

Symptoms of a Lump in Your Testes

Noticing a testicular cyst or lump can be unsettling. How the lump feels and the symptoms it brings depend on the cause.

Let's look at some common signs:

  • Heaviness: Sometimes, a lump like a varicocele might make one testicle feel heavier than the other. It can also feel like a bag of worms.

  • Swelling: This is a common sign. A hydrocele, for instance, causes visible swelling. It's painless in infants but might cause discomfort in older boys and men.

  • Painless Lumps: Painless lumps like epididymal cysts usually don't hurt. But they might make a testicle feel unusually heavy.

  • Pain and Other Symptoms: Some lumps can make your testicles feel painful, tender, and swollen. They can also lead to fever, nausea, vomiting, and a testicle that sits higher or at an unusual angle.

If it's testicular cancer, the symptoms are a bit different:

  • Aches: A dull pain in the lower abdomen or groin area is common.

  • Sudden Changes: Look out for abrupt swelling in the scrotum.

  • Discomfort: You may feel mild discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum.

  • Breast Changes: Enlarged or tender breast tissue can sometimes accompany testicular cancer.

  • Back Pain: Your back may hurt for no particular reason.

Remember, testicular cancer typically affects only one testicle.

Don't wait to schedule an appointment if you notice any of these symptoms. Early detection is the key to unlocking positive outcomes, so seek medical advice if something feels off.

Testes Lump Causes and Types

Here's a rundown of the most common types of testicular lumps:

  • Varicocele: This type of testicular lump occurs more than any other. It happens when the veins in the scrotum become enlarged, leading to a feeling of heaviness or soreness. Varicoceles can impact fertility, so medical consultation is a good idea if you have concerns.

  • Hydrocele: This involves fluid accumulation around the testicle, causing swelling and a smooth, elastic feel. Common in newborns, hydroceles typically resolve within a year. Adults might experience them, too, often due to injury or infection.

  • Epididymal Cysts and Spermatoceles: These fluid-filled sacs develop on the epididymis (the tube connecting the testicles and vas deferens). They're generally painless, though they can sometimes cause discomfort or swelling. Spermatoceles, containing sperm, are more frequent than epididymal cysts and often resolve naturally.

  • Epididymitis and Orchitis: Inflammations of the epididymis and testicle, these conditions are often triggered by bacterial infections, including STIs like chlamydia or gonorrhoea.

  • Testicular Torsion: This is a medical emergency where the spermatic cord twists, potentially cutting off blood supply to the testicle. This leads to severe pain and swelling and can occur at any age, though it's more common in young boys.

  • Hernias: Inguinal hernias develop where part of the intestine protrudes into the scrotum, causing a lump and pain.

  • Testicular Cancer: Though less common, it's the most prevalent cancer in young men.

Ultrasounds for Testicular Lump Diagnosis

When facing concerns about a lump in your testes, an ultrasound offers a reassuring first step. Let's explore how this technology works and its role in diagnosing various testes lump types.

What Is an Ultrasound?

An ultrasound is a medical imaging technique that employs sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of your body. It's completely safe and non-invasive. This makes ultrasounds a widely preferred method for initial examinations of testicular lumps.

Types of Lumps It Can Diagnose

Ultrasounds are incredibly effective at differentiating between various kinds of testicular lumps. They can easily distinguish fluid-filled cysts, like hydroceles, from solid tumours, which could indicate cancer.

If the ultrasound reveals a solid mass, it often leads to further investigative measures, such as additional imaging tests or surgery to remove the testicle for closer examination.

Your ultrasound also checks for signs of infection or injury that could be causing discomfort or pain. It can identify varicoceles and hernias, as well as offer a detailed assessment of the size and structure of your testicles. The scan detects any signs of inflammation that could indicate other underlying health issues.

What to Expect During a Testicular Ultrasound

Heading in for a testicular ultrasound might feel a bit daunting, but it's a straightforward and comfortable process. Here's what you can expect so you walk in feeling prepared and at ease.

Before the Scan

First off, don't feel embarrassed or anxious about this scan. It's a routine procedure, and there's hardly any special preparation needed.

Wear loose, comfortable clothing and remove any jewellery to make things easier. In some cases, you might be asked to change into a gown, so be prepared to undress underneath.

Bringing Support

It's completely okay to bring someone along for support. If having a friend or family member with you in the screening area makes you feel more reassured, that's absolutely fine.

During the Ultrasound

The ultrasound itself is painless and non-invasive. You'll lie on your back while the clinician applies a water-based gel to your testicles. This gel helps the handheld scanner glide smoothly and ensures better contact with your skin for clearer images. The clinician will then gently move the scanner over your testicles.

As the scanner does its job, it sends images to a screen, giving the doctor a detailed view of what's happening inside your scrotum. You won't feel any discomfort during this process. It's quick and straightforward.

After the Scan

You can return to your regular activities immediately following your scan. What's more, you'll likely get your results fast.

However, depending on what's found, further tests might be required to confirm a diagnosis or to get a more detailed understanding of your situation.

Take the Next Step for Your Health

If you've noticed any changes or have concerns about your testicular health, don't hesitate. Early detection and timely intervention can make all the difference.

Our clinic in London offers leading ultrasound services in a comfortable and compassionate environment. Our team of experts is ready to provide you with the care and attention you need.

Schedule your ultrasound appointment today at our London clinic and take a proactive step towards ensuring your health and peace of mind.


November 22, 2023
By Dr Shayan Ahmed

Forearm Lumps: Causes, symptoms and how an ultrasound can help with diagnosis

Forearm lumps can have a broad range of causes and symptoms. If you’ve found lumps in your forearm, early diagnosis by an elbow and forearm ultrasound is the first step along your road to recovery.

What Are the Most Common Forearm Lump Causes and Their Symptoms?

Most of the time, forearm lumps turn out to be benign (non-cancerous) growths (1). Although cancerous conditions are rare, it’s always prudent to seek medical advice at the outset. The earlier the intervention, the better your chances of a positive outcome, even if the lump turns out to be malignant.

Knowing the causes and symptoms of the most common forearm lumps can help you discuss your condition with your doctor with greater confidence. Let’s look at some of the issues that may have caused the lump in your forearm.


These soft, moveable lumps occur when fat accumulates between the layers of muscles in your forearm and your skin (2). Usually, the only symptom is the appearance of the lump itself. Risk factors for lipomas include being 40 and 60 years old or having a family history of the condition (3).

Lipomas are benign, but they can cause discomfort if the tumour affects nearby nerves. If that’s the case, your doctor might recommend surgery to remove it. Otherwise, lipomas require no treatment at all.

Skin Abscesses

Abscesses occur when pus from a bacterial infection collects beneath the skin (4). These painful lumps usually feel warm to the touch, with redness surrounding the area.

Some smaller abscesses resolve on their own. Others require treatment with antibiotics or an incision and drainage (I & D) procedure (5). If you experience fever or chills, it’s imperative that you seek treatment quickly, lest the infection spread into your bloodstream.


Caused by exposure to the human papillomavirus (HPV), these lumps appear as small, raised bumps in your skin (6). Some warts have tiny blood vessels inside them, giving them a dotted appearance. Other symptoms include itching, pressure, and tightness in the skin surrounding the wart.

Although warts are usually benign, it pays to seek medical advice since they are contagious. If you choose an over-the-counter treatment, avoid touching others with the affected forearm so you don’t spread the virus.


Dermatofibromas are hard, often painful skin tumours that develop just beneath the skin, usually on the extremities, such as your forearm (7). Usually, they are benign, but since some develop into malignancies, it pays to schedule an ultrasound exam to rule out cancer.

Risk factors for dermatofibromas include being female, having an injury to the skin from a spider bite, having a tattoo or skin testing, or having a history of folliculitis. Unless the tumour causes significant discomfort or presents a risk of malignancy or another serious condition, surgical removal is often unnecessary.

Swollen Lymph Nodes

When you have an infection, your body rises to the occasion, producing antibodies to fight off the invading germs. (8) Your lymphatic system plays a major role in that fight – sending germ-killing white blood cells to the rescue.

For that reason, your lymph nodes can become swollen and often sore. These lumps usually disappear after the infection subsides. If they remain swollen, it’s time to see your doctor. Swollen lymph nodes that persist long after the infection is gone can be a sign of leukaemia or another serious condition.

Ganglion Cysts

Ganglion cysts are fluid-filled, somewhat moveable lumps that form under your skin, usually near joints, such as your wrist or elbow (9). Most of the time, you’ll experience no symptoms except for the lump itself.

  • Risk factors for ganglion cysts include:

  • Being female

  • Having a previous joint injury

  • Being between 20 and 50 years old

Having arthritis These cysts are benign and often go away on their own. However, if the cyst presses against nerves or the joint itself, causing pain and interfering with movement, your doctor may suggest a surgical procedure to remove it. Your doctor can usually perform this surgery – a ganglionectomy – on an outpatient basis.


Although an angiolipoma is a subtype of lipoma, it differs from other lipomas in two significant aspects (10). First, it’s most common in young people between 20 and 30 years of age rather than middle-aged patients. Secondly, angiolipomas contain blood vessels as well as fat.

Angiolipomas are relatively rare and occur in two types:

  • Non-infiltrating angiolipomas: Although this type of angiolipoma can be painful, it doesn’t extend deep into the skin. This type of angiolipoma is the more common of the two.

  • Infiltrating angiolipomas: These rare yet benign tumours extend more deeply into your forearm, often into your muscles, fibrous tissue, or fat. Usually, infiltrating angiolipomas are painless. Angiolipomas appear as round, spongy lumps, often occurring in groups. They’re often painful to the touch and can cause swelling and discolouration in the immediate area. In addition to age, risk factors include:

  • Corticosteroid use: Prolonged usage of corticosteroids, such as skin ointments and creams, increases your risk of angiolipomas.

  • A diagnosis of diabetes: People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing angiolipomas than other populations.

  • A family history of angiolipomas: Genetics often play a role in your likelihood of developing these tumours.

  • A history of repetitive though minor injuries: Repetitive injuries can also trigger a response in your body, such as an angiolipoma.

Most angiolipomas don’t require treatment. However, if the angiolipomas cause you pain or interfere with movement, outpatient surgery is an option.


Although rare, liposarcomas often resemble angiolipomas (11). For that reason, an ultrasound examination is a must, even if you believe your tumour is an angiolipoma.

Like lipomas, liposarcomas start in your fat cells. However, some types of liposarcomas can spread from your arm to vital organs – so it’s essential that you seek treatment at the earliest sign of a problem.

Early liposarcoma symptoms include:

  • A new or fast-growing, rubbery lump under your skin

  • Weakness in the arm that has the lump

Later, when the disease has spread to other organs, symptoms can include bowel issues, loss of appetite, shortness of breath, or bloody vomiting.

Depending on the stage at which your doctor diagnoses your liposarcoma, treatment might include surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.

What Kinds of Lumps in the Forearm Can Doctors Detect with an Ultrasound Scan?

An ultrasound can help your doctor find signs of inflammation and fluid that indicate the types of repetitive injuries that give rise to angiolipomas, ganglion cysts, and other injury-induced forearm lumps. Ultrasound exams can also help your specialist diagnose masses, tumours, and other abnormalities in their early stages, giving you the best chance at a complete recovery.

What Will Happen During My Elbow and Forearm Ultrasound?

Ultrasound examinations are non-invasive, causing you no pain or discomfort. However, your specialist will use a water-soluble gel during the procedure, so it is wise to wear a short-sleeved or sleeveless top to the exam. If you have jewellery, be sure to remove it before the procedure.

When you arrive, the staff will take you to the examination room. There, your specialist will direct you to position your forearm on the exam table. Then, they will apply the gel to help the ultrasound probe to glide over your skin to give the specialist accurate images of your forearm lump as they move the probe over the lump.

When you choose the Harley Street Ultrasound Group for your ultrasound procedure, your doctor will provide you with the results immediately. In most cases, the specialist can narrow down a diagnosis during the same visit.

If your forearm lump requires treatment, the doctor will ask you to schedule a follow-up appointment with the staff. Since the procedure is completely safe and requires no anaesthesia, you can return to work or home after your consultation.

Your peace of mind is paramount at the Harley Street Ultrasound Group. If you’ve found a lump on your forearm, an early diagnosis is the best way to prevent more serious issues. Schedule your forearm ultrasound with our compassionate staff today.

May 25, 2023
By Dr Tahir Hussein

Wrist Lumps & Hand Lumps: Causes, symptoms and How an Ultrasound can help with Diagnosis

Ultrasound’s Role in Identifying Lumps on the Wrist and Hand

If you’ve found a lump on your wrist or hand, a trip to visit a physician is in order. Early identification (1) by hand or wrist ultrasound and follow-up treatment gives you the best chance of recovery, no matter what they turn out to be. 

What Conditions Could the Lumps on My Hand or Wrist Be?

In most cases, lumps in the hand and wrists are usually benign (2). Cancerous conditions, such as soft tissue, bone, or cartilage malignancies, are rare.

Let’s explore some of the most common issues that give rise to lumps in the wrist or hands.

Ganglion Cysts

Most wrist and hand lumps turn out to be benign ganglion cysts. Ganglion cysts develop when the lining inside your small joints develops a pouch, allowing fluids to leak inside.

The same situation might occur in the sheath that covers your tendons or knuckle joints. In that case, doctors call the abnormality a ‘mucous cyst’.

Giant Cell Tumours

Although the name sounds scary, giant cell tumours are benign growths that develop on your tendons’ sheath, lining, or the soft tissue inside the joint. They’re usually painful but easy to remove. Unfortunately, they often return, so your doctor will probably recommend that you return periodically for rechecks.

Inclusion Cysts

Inclusion cysts occur when you’ve suffered a penetrating wound in one of your fingers or hands. The force of the instrument that causes the wound drives surface cells into your hand or finger’s deep layers.

These cells grow inside the healed wound, expanding in size over several months or years, causing abnormal but benign growths.

Dupuytren Disease

Dupuytren disease (3) comes from an imbalance in your body’s ability to control healing and scarring. It causes firm, often painful nodules to form under or attached to your skin.

Genetics play a role in its development. So, if you have a family history of the condition, it pays to have your doctor check for early signs during routine check-ups.

Carpal Boss

Like a bone spur on your hand, a carpal boss (4) is a hard, bone-like lump, but it develops on your wrist. It’s a type of osteoarthritis that grows out of the bone on the back of your hand.

Researchers believe that a carpal boss develops over time from repetitive stress on your wrist or a traumatic injury. Usually, it’s painless. However, some patients feel some pain while moving their affected wrist.


An enchondroma on your hand is a benign tumour (5) in the small bones of your hand. This type of tumour can also occur in other bones, usually on your arms and legs. Physicians believe that enchondromas occur when bone cells change into cartilage.

Although rare, an enchondroma can also become cancerous – so keeping close track of its development is essential, especially since they usually present without pain. Additionally, since this condition weakens your bones by partially turning them into cartilage, fractures are also a risk for enchondroma patients.


Lipomas are one of the most frequently occurring benign tumours in the human body. However, they’re relatively rare (6) in the wrist or hand. These soft-tissue growths are more common in older individuals (7) and those with a family history of the condition.

Lipomas of the hand usually form on your palm, close to your thumb. However, they can occur elsewhere on your hand or wrist. Formed from encapsulated fatty tissue, these soft tumours rarely cause pain but can impair movement and affect your hand’s appearance.

Warts and Calluses

Another type of commonly occurring benign growths, warts develop from exposure to the human papillomavirus (8), usually from direct skin contact or sharing towels or washcloths with an infected person. They are easily treatable with over-the-counter medications but often can resolve on their own.

Although warts themselves are benign, one type of cancer, squamous cell carcinoma (9), mimics some of the characteristics of a wart. If your wart begins to bleed or crust, do seek medical advice. As with all malignancies, early diagnosis and treatment is essential for a positive outcome.

Calluses, on the other hand, occur from repetitive friction or mild injuries. These dry, rough growths are usually not painful but can be somewhat tender upon pressure.

Most often, calluses resolve without treatment. Using gloves while working with your hands or exfoliation usually solves the problem.

Arthritis-Induced Hand and Wrist Abnormalities

Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as gout, can cause various types of lumps, bumps, and swelling in your hands. Heberden’s nodes and Bouchard’s nodes (10), small bony growths that occur on the fingers, can cause swelling, pain, and loss of motion.

People with rheumatoid arthritis often develop nodules and swelling in the tissues surrounding their joints. Gout flareups (11), too, can cause swelling, along with painful, chalky deposits in the tissues of the hand.

Vascular Conditions

Tumours can also develop in your blood vessels or the lymphatic system. Most are benign; however, other abnormalities, like aneurysms, angiosarcomas, and lymphangiosarcomas (12), are more serious and warrant prompt diagnosis and treatment.

Trigger Finger

A trigger finger occurs when the tendon that moves your finger cannot glide through the sheath that covers it, usually due to a node on the tendon. When that happens, your finger sticks in a bent position as if pulling a trigger. Risk factors for trigger finger include:

  • Being female and over 50 years of age

  • Diabetes

  • Low thyroid function

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Having a hobby or occupation that involves repetitive use of your hand or fingers

Treatment of this benign yet disabling condition often includes splints, steroid injections, or even surgery.

Cancer in the Wrists or Hands

Although rare, cancers can occur in the wrists and hands. Usually, cancerous tumours in the hands and wrists result from cancer cells that have spread from tumours in other parts of the body.

Most of the cancers that originate in the wrist or hands are skin malignancies, such as squamous cell carcinomas, melanomas, or basal cell carcinomas. However, some malignant tumours – sarcomas – do form in the cartilage or bones of the hand.

Unless you can identify a wrist or hand lump as something harmless, it’s always a good bet to make an appointment with your healthcare provider to rule out more serious conditions, such as cancer. One of the most dependable diagnostic tools for hand and wrist abnormalities is an ultrasound scan.

What Kinds of Lumps in the Hand and Wrist Can Doctors Detect with an Ultrasound Scan?

Ultrasound scans can detect a variety of hand and wrist issues. As it does with lumps in the breast, an ultrasound examination provides detailed images of the lumps in your hand or wrist, giving your physician a better understanding of their cause.

A hand or wrist scan can detect many of the conditions that cause lumps in the wrist and hands, such as the following:

  • Joint, tendon, muscle, and ligament abnormalities

  • Pain in the fingers, hands, or wrists

  • Range of movement issues

  • Inflammation and fluid build-up

  • Tumours and other masses

Depending on the results of your wrist or hand scan, your treatment team can diagnose and treat your condition or schedule further tests if they need more information. These tests could include CT scans, X-rays, or a biopsy.

What Happens During a Hand or Wrist Ultrasound Scan?

Since a wrist or hand ultrasound examination is a non-invasive procedure, you won’t need much preparation. Wearing a short-sleeved shirt, blouse, or sweater can protect your clothing from the gel the ultrasound specialist will apply to your hand or wrist before the exam. If you wear jewellery, remove it before the scan.

After you arrive in the exam room, your specialist will ask you to place your wrist or hand on the exam table. Then, they will apply a gel that makes it easier for the ultrasound probe to move over your skin and capture a clear picture of the affected area.

Then, your specialist will move the ultrasound probe over your hand or wrist to generate images. The images will appear on a screen, giving them an accurate picture of your condition.

At the Harley Street Ultrasound Group, your doctor will review the results with you immediately after the exam. In fact, your doctor will usually be able to diagnose your condition on the same visit. If you need follow-up visits for treatment, your doctor will advise you to schedule your next appointment with the office staff.

If you have a suspicious lump on your wrist or hand, don’t waste time worrying about it. Schedule a hand or wrist ultrasound with our caring team today.

May 02, 2023
By Dr Tahir Hussein

Testicular Scan: What Should You Expect?

Testicular ultrasounds are a safe and non-invasive way for doctors to assess and diagnose abnormalities in the testicles. If you’re anxious about the procedure, don’t worry—it’s natural to feel that way. 

Whether your doctor has referred you or you are considering the test on your own, this guide will provide you with the information you need to prepare for the procedure and understand the results.


What is a testicular ultrasound?

A testicular ultrasound (also referred to as a scrotum or scrotal ultrasound) is a non-invasive medical procedure that uses high-frequency sound waves to create detailed images of the testicles. 

A scrotal scan is a safe and painless way to examine the testicles and the surrounding tissues.

The ultrasound machine works by sending sound waves into the testes or scrotal area, which bounce off the tissues and create echoes. 

The echoes are then converted into images by a computer, which a qualified medical doctor (Radiologist) will view in real-time.

Overall, a testicular ultrasound is a valuable diagnostic tool that can provide important information about the health of the testicles. 

If you have concerns about your testicular health, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our team is more than happy to answer your questions.


Why might I need a testicular ultrasound?

Feeling anxious about a testicular ultrasound is normal, but there’s no need to stress. It’s a painless and non-invasive imaging method doctors use to diagnose abnormalities in the testicles.

You may need a testes scan if you have a new or enlarging lump in your scrotum or testicles or are experiencing pain or swelling. 

Your doctor might use your scans to diagnose conditions such as varicoceles as part of a fertility screen, which may impact your fertility. 

Additionally, an ultrasound can check for undescended testicles, a condition where one or both testicles don’t drop into the scrotum.

During the scrotum scan, ultrasound echoes provide real-time dynamic images that our doctors can use to distinguish between solid masses (which may indicate a tumour) and fluid-filled masses (which may indicate a cyst). 

The echoes also enable doctors to examine blood flow to and from the testicles.


What can I expect from the procedure?

If you are scheduled for a scrotal ultrasound, you can expect a painless and non-invasive procedure.

The entire process typically takes around 15 to 30 minutes, and you can resume your regular activities immediately afterwards.


Before the ultrasound:

Preparing for a scrotal ultrasound is easy, and there is no need to feel embarrassed about the procedure—the process is so straightforward that very little preparation is required.

We recommend you wear loose, comfortable clothing on the day of your appointment. This will help you feel relaxed and at ease. 

Additionally, remove any jewellery or metal objects before the exam, as these can interfere with the imaging technology.

If you are asked to wear a gown for the procedure, you will need to remove your clothing underneath.

 However, rest assured that you will be given a private area to change and that our staff will respect your privacy throughout the entire process.

We understand that some patients may feel anxious or nervous about the procedure, and we want you to know that you are not alone.

Our experienced clinicians will do everything they can to ensure you feel comfortable throughout the process.

You are welcome to bring a friend or family member into the screening area with you for support.


During the ultrasound:

During the scan, you will be asked to lie on your back, and the doctor will apply a water-based gel to your scrotum. 

This gel helps to improve the transmission of sound waves, enabling clearer images to be captured.

The clinician will then use a handheld scanner to take images of your testicles from different angles. 

The scanner projects these images onto a screen in real-time, allowing the specialist to analyse the pictures and identify any potential issues.


After the ultrasound:

After the scan, you will receive your results quickly. You don’t need to take any precautions; unless otherwise advised, you can continue your regular diet and daily activities, including exercise.

Remember that diagnostic ultrasound at the intensity levels used in the procedure has no significant side effects or causes any complications—the process does not involve radiation like other medical imaging techniques.

The doctor may give you additional or alternative instructions depending on your results.

This might include further testing, monitoring, changes to your diet or lifestyle, or other treatments.

Carefully follow your doctor’s instructions to ensure you achieve the best possible health outcomes.

If you have any questions or concerns following your scrotal ultrasound, please do not hesitate to contact your healthcare provider or our team for further guidance.


What might you find in a testicular ultrasound?

A testicular ultrasound is an effective tool for detecting various testicular disorders. Here are some conditions ultrasound can detect.

  • Abscesses, infections, or inflammation around the testes or epididymis:


    These can be caused by a variety of factors, including injury, infection, or inflammation.

  • Blood flow:


    An ultrasound can also detect blood flow within the testicles, which can provide important information about the health of the tissue.

  • Cysts and tumours:


    These abnormal growths can be either benign or malignant.

  • Fluid buildup:


    Hydroceles occur when fluid accumulates in the sac surrounding the testicle.

  • Scrotal hernias:


    These occur when part of the intestine pushes through the abdominal wall and into the scrotum.

  • Signs of cancer:


    A testicular ultrasound can detect early signs of testicular cancer, including lumps or masses within the testicles.

  • Swollen veins:


    Varicoceles are swollen veins in the scrotum that can impact fertility.

  • Testicular size abnormalities:


    An ultrasound can detect testicular size abnormalities, such as smaller or larger than average testes.

  • Fertility screening:


    assessing the size of the testicles or other structural causes such as varicoceles. Varicoceles can cause infertility in men by affecting the quality and quantity of sperm produced by the testicles.

If any of these conditions are detected during the scan, your specialist will advise on treatment options, which may include further testing, medication, or surgery.


What do the results look like?

When you have a testicular ultrasound, a radiologist will carefully examine the images and send a report with the results to your doctor. 

If the report identifies any abnormalities, it may indicate a range of benign or concerning conditions, including an infection in the testicle, spermatocele, tumour, varicocele, hydrocele, or benign cyst.

Your doctor will help you understand what these results mean and provide recommendations for any necessary next steps. 

If a tumour is found, your specialist will likely recommend further testing to determine the appropriate next steps.

Remember, our team is here to support you every step of the way, and we’ll do everything we can to ensure you receive the best care possible.


Schedule your testicular ultrasound today.

A testicular ultrasound is a safe and painless diagnostic tool that can identify a wide range of testicular conditions.

From swelling and inflammation to cysts and tumours, a testicular ultrasound can provide valuable information to help your doctor determine the best course of action for your health.

Remember, if you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your testicles or scrotum, don’t hesitate to schedule a testicular ultrasound.

It’s natural to feel anxious or worried, but our team of experienced professionals is here to provide you with the highest level of care and support.

Don’t let uncertainty keep you from taking control of your health. Book your appointment now and put your mind at ease. Your health is our top priority, and we look forward to serving you.

April 23, 2023
By Heba Alkutbi

What is a NIPT Test and what should you expect?

A commonly used test is the Non-Invasive Prenatal Test (NIPT), also known as the Prenatal Test. The test is designed to screen the foetus for genetic conditions and chromosomal abnormalities.

Pregnancy can be both an exciting and nerve-wracking experience for expectant parents. With so much to prepare for, it’s essential to ensure the health and wellbeing of both the mother and the baby. One way to do this is through prenatal testing, which can provide valuable information about the developing foetus.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at NIPT tests, how they work, and what you can expect from the testing process. Let’s get started.

What is a NIPT?

During your pregnancy, ensuring the health of your unborn child is paramount. Non-Invasive Prenatal Testing (NIPT) can help give you peace of mind. NIPT is a screening test that involves an ultrasound and blood test. It examines small fragments of DNA called cell-free DNA (cfDNA), which come from the placenta and are isolated from your blood to determine the risk of Down’s, Edwards’, or Patau’s Syndromes.

The Prenatal Test is a type of NIPT that can detect several chromosomal conditions as early as 10 weeks of gestation. It is highly accurate and can assess sex chromosome anomalies, including Turner and Klinefelter syndromes.

The test is suitable for both single and twin pregnancies. However, in non-identical twin pregnancies, it cannot give you a twin-specific chance of tested conditions. The test is also effective for IVF and surrogate pregnancies, ensuring all expecting parents can receive the critical information about their baby’s health they need.

NIPT can provide much-needed reassurance during early pregnancy, allowing you to feel confident and comfortable about your baby’s growth and development. Keep in mind, however, that NIPT is a screening test and not a diagnostic test, so if a high risk is indicated, further testing is required. Nevertheless, NIPT is a valuable tool in prenatal care.

When can I get a NIPT test?

One of the benefits of a NIPT is that it can be performed at different stages of pregnancy. You can undergo NIPT from 10 weeks of gestation, earlier than other invasive diagnostic tests. This gives you more time to prepare for and respond to any possible outcomes.

NIPT can also be performed later in pregnancy, up to 40 weeks of gestation. This can be helpful for pregnant people who did not have the opportunity to have the test earlier in their pregnancy or those who may have had a previous pregnancy with a genetic condition.

Your pregnancy journey is unique and personal. Discuss the timing of your NIPT test with your healthcare provider, as well as any other prenatal tests you may need. They can help you determine the best time to test based on your needs and circumstances.

Finally, remember that a NIPT is a personal choice and not mandatory. You should never feel pressured to take the test if you don’t want to. It’s important to make a choice that supports you on your pregnancy journey.

What to expect throughout the procedure

If you are considering a Prenatal Test, it’s natural to have questions about what the procedure involves. Here’s what you can expect from the process:

Step 1: Preparing for your NIPT Test

Before the NIPT test, drink a few glasses of water an hour before your ultrasound. This will help improve the visibility of your baby during the scan.

Step 2: Ultrasound scan

A NIPT is performed in two parts, both of which are non-invasive. The first part involves an ultrasound scan, which is safe for you and your baby and doesn’t use radiation. This scan will confirm that you are at the 10-plus-week gestational mark.

Step 3: Blood sample

After the ultrasound, a sample of your blood will be drawn from your arm. The sample will be sent to a specialist laboratory for analysis, where a technician will examine it for any chromosomal abnormalities.

Step 4: Your NIPT Test Results

Your results will be sent to your healthcare provider in three to five business days. The specialist who analysed your blood sample will provide your healthcare provider with a report outlining your baby’s risk for various chromosomal conditions.

Step 5: Post-procedure care

After the blood test and early pregnancy ultrasound, there is no special care or downtime required. You can resume your regular diet and daily activities, including exercise, unless advised otherwise by your doctor. However, your doctor may give you additional or alternative instructions depending on your results — follow these carefully.

What might you find in a NIPT?

A NIPT screening tool can help detect some chromosomal conditions in your developing baby. Here are some of the things that you might find in a NIPT:

High or low chance of chromosomal conditions

NIPT results can indicate whether your baby has a high or low probability of having trisomy 21, trisomy 18, or trisomy 13. A high likelihood of a condition does not mean your baby definitely has it. Further testing, such as Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis, can provide a more accurate diagnosis. If the test results show less than a 1 in 10,000 chance of trisomy 21, trisomy 18, or trisomy 13, the likelihood of your baby having one of these conditions is very low.

Sex of your baby

The Prenatal Test can determine the sex of your baby. This information can be beneficial if you want to know the sex of your baby early on in your pregnancy or if you want to plan ahead for a gender reveal.

Sex chromosome aneuploidy

NIPT can also detect sex chromosome aneuploidy, which is a condition that occurs when a baby has differences in the number of X and Y chromosomes. This can cause learning and behavioural difficulties, as well as other health concerns in some cases.

Monosomy X or Turner Syndrome

NIPT can also detect Monosomy X or Turner Syndrome, which is a condition that occurs in females missing an X chromosome. Babies with Turner Syndrome may have heart, learning, or endocrine problems.

Before your appointment, you might wish to discuss any concerns or questions about these conditions with your healthcare provider. You can receive additional information and resources from your doctor to help you understand what’s being tested.

NIPTs are highly accurate and can identify 99 per cent of pregnancies with trisomy 21. Additionally, the Prenatal Test has a low false-positive rate of 0.1 per cent, meaning that it’s unlikely for the test to incorrectly identify a condition when the baby is healthy.

What do NIPT Test results look like?

When you receive the results of your NIPT test, they will be categorised into three possibilities: low chance, increased chance, or inconclusive.

If the results show a low chance, it is very unlikely that your baby is affected by Down’s, Edwards’, or Patau’s Syndromes. However, if the results indicate an increased chance, it means there is a higher possibility that your baby will be affected by one of these conditions.

Remember that a confirmation test is required for all increased chance results, as in some cases, the DNA from the placenta may not accurately represent the baby’s DNA. Your doctor may recommend invasive diagnostic tests, such as CVS or amniocentesis, for a definitive diagnosis.

If a result cannot be produced, the test has failed. This could be due to a small number of cases where there is not enough baby DNA in your blood to produce a result. In these instances, two blood samples will be collected. If the test fails twice, it will be reported as a failed test.

Sometimes, the result may be inconclusive, which means that the result is unclear, and a likelihood cannot be calculated. While this can happen on rare occasions — about 5 per cent of the time — there is no need to stress or worry. If you receive an inconclusive result, our specialist will contact you and advise you on what to do next.

Your doctor or midwife may want to know the results of the Prenatal Test and may ask for a copy. If you have any concerns about your test results, we can organise for you to discuss them with our friendly on-site consultant obstetricians. They can help guide you through the following steps.

Schedule your NIPT now

Prenatal testing can provide important information about your baby’s health and give you peace of mind during your pregnancy. The NIPT test is a reliable option for screening genetic conditions and chromosomal abnormalities.

Get in touch today if you’re interested in booking a NIPT test. The process is quick, easy, and non-invasive. Schedule your appointment and take the next step toward a healthy pregnancy and a happy, healthy baby.

March 24, 2023
By Dr Ayman Mahfouz

Breast Lumps: Causes, Symptoms & Ultrasound’s Diagnostic Role

Breast lumps are not always cancerous, and many are harmless.

However, if you have found a lump in your breast, it’s best to have it checked by a qualified healthcare professional.

In this article, we’ll cover the different types of lumps in the breast, their potential causes and symptoms, and how an ultrasound scan can help you get the answers you deserve.

Let’s get started.

Understanding different types of breast lumps

Breast lumps come in many different shapes, sizes, and textures. They can be painful or painless; some may even move around when you touch them. Here are some of the most common types of breast lumps:

  • Cysts

    : Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can develop in the breast. They are usually round or oval in shape and can range in size from a pea to a golf ball. Cysts are generally painless and will move around when touched. They are often diagnosed through ultrasound, and a doctor may recommend draining the fluid if it’s causing discomfort.

  • Fibroadenomas

    : These are benign lumps made of fibrous and glandular tissue. Fibroadenomas are typically firm and round and will also shift beneath the skin when pressure is applied. They are most common in women under 30 and are usually diagnosed through ultrasound. Sometimes, a doctor may recommend removing a fibroadenoma if it’s painful or growing quickly.

  • Fat necrosis

    : This occurs when fat cells build up in the breast. The lump can feel firm or rubbery and may be accompanied by dimpling or skin redness. Fat necrosis is usually benign and may not require treatment. However, a specialist may suggest further testing if the lump feels hard or irregular.

  • Calcifications

    : Tiny mineral deposits in the breast tissue can sometimes feel like lumps. Calcifications are often benign and don’t typically require treatment, but your healthcare team may advise you to undertake further testing if the lumps are larger than 1 millimetre or have grown in a cluster.

  • Breast cancer

    : This is the most concerning type of lump in the breast. It can feel hard, painless, and fixed in place. Breast cancer can also cause other symptoms, such as changes in the size or shape of the breast, skin dimpling, and nipple discharge.

If you have any concerns about a lump in your breast, it’s vital to see a specialist you trust. The sooner you get answers, the sooner you can kick-start your journey to health and vitality.

What causes breast lumps?

Breast lumps have a variety of causes, including hormonal changes, physical trauma, and underlying health conditions.

Hormonal fluctuations, such as those experienced during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, can trigger the development of breast lumps.

Physical trauma, such as a fall or a blow to the chest, can also lead to the formation of lumps.

Certain medical conditions, including fibrocystic breast disease and lupus, can also result in the growth of lumps in the breast.

Some breast lumps simply do not have a clear cause. Regardless, it’s always best to have any breast lump evaluated by your preferred healthcare professional.

Symptoms of breast lumps

In addition to the lump itself, you may also experience the following symptoms:

  • Tenderness or pain in the breast

  • Changes in your breast’s size or shape

  • Nipple discharge

  • Nipple inversion

  • Skin dimpling

  • Redness or warmth over the lump

In some cases, a breast lump will not cause additional symptoms. That’s why checking your breasts for changes and following up with your doctor if you find an abnormality is key to early detection.

What can an ultrasound show?

When diagnosing breast lumps, ultrasound plays a leading role.

Ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to generate images of the inside of your breast.

This non-invasive, pain-free test provides clear, detailed images of the soft tissue in your breast, allowing your specialist to identify any lumps or suspicious areas.

How does an ultrasound help with diagnosis?

If you suspect you have a breast lump, an ultrasound is an integral step in your journey to diagnosis.

Breast ultrasound scans can detect cysts, one of the most common types of breast lumps which are usually harmless.

By looking at the fluid pattern within the lump on the ultrasound monitor, your experienced specialist can tell you if a lump is a cyst or not.

If not, the lump may be solid. Solid lumps may be more concerning and can indicate a range of conditions, including fibroadenomas and breast cancer.

An ultrasound can help determine if a solid lump is benign or malignant and provide essential information for biopsy or further treatment.

How is an ultrasound performed?

Ultrasound is a simple, non-invasive test that can provide valuable information about any breast lumps. Here’s what you can expect during your ultrasound appointment:


You do not need to prepare for an ultrasound in any specific way. However, it is best to wear a two-piece outfit for the appointment, as you will need to remove your top.

The procedure

Your specialist will apply a gel to the area of your breast being examined.

This helps to conduct the sound waves. They will then glide a handheld device across your skin.

This device, called a transducer, emits harmless sound waves, which bounce back and create an image of the inside of your breast.

Your specialist can see the pictures on a screen, guiding you through the process and findings every step of the way.

If you have any questions throughout, please do not hesitate to ask.

The procedure is painless and typically takes around half an hour.

After the exam, your specialist will gently remove the gel from your skin and give you privacy so you can get dressed.

What happens after the ultrasound?

After your ultrasound appointment, your specialist will review the images and provide you with a report.

At Harley Street Ultrasound, we don’t leave you waiting – you will receive your results on the same day as your exam, with all images sent directly to your nominated email address for total convenience and peace of mind.

Keep in mind that ultrasound is just one part of the diagnostic puzzle, and you may need additional tests.

If further tests are necessary, your specialist will discuss this with you and make the necessary arrangements.

Take action for your health

If you have noticed a lump in your breast, seek answers as soon as possible – there is nothing more important than your health.

Then it’s likely not a cause for concern, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Harley Street Ultrasound is a leading private breast clinic in London, and our high-quality specialists and compassionate team are dedicated to making you feel comfortable and supported.

With the right care and guidance, you can take meaningful steps to safeguard your health and wellbeing.

Book an appointment today and let the experts at Harley Street Ultrasound help you feel reassured.

March 17, 2023
By Heba Alkutbi

Growth Scan: What should you expect?

Are you excited to catch a glimpse of your little one during the third trimester?

A growth scan, also known as a baby wellbeing or reassurance scan, offers just that.

This non-invasive ultrasound measures your baby’s size and overall health, providing vital information about their growth and development.

Whether you’re experiencing a smooth pregnancy or have concerns, a growth scan can offer peace of mind and an opportunity to connect with your baby.

Imagine watching as they stretch, kick, and roll around in the womb. These precious images will be treasured for a lifetime.

This article will cover what to expect during a growth scan, what the results may reveal, and what to do next. Let’s get started.

What is a growth scan?

A baby growth ultrasound evaluates your baby’s development during the last trimester. It measures your little one’s growth and progress.

This scan is usually performed between weeks 24 and 40 of your pregnancy journey and can provide important information about your baby’s size and overall health.

It’s not typically offered on the NHS but may be recommended for parents-to-be who have had a history of premature delivery, gestational diabetes, or other health concerns that could affect the baby.

Please reach out if you are unsure whether you are eligible for a growth ultrasound. Our friendly team would be more than happy to help.

While the scan is a great way to check in on your baby, it’s not a standalone diagnostic tool and won’t detect all potential problems.

Instead, it’s an added reassurance for parents and an opportunity to bond with their little one.

What to expect

During a growth scan, you will lie down on an examination table or bed, and a special gel will be applied to your abdomen and pelvic area.

This gel is water-based, so it shouldn’t leave any stains on your clothing or skin. The gel ensures the sound waves move properly and produce clear images of your baby.

Next, a small wand, called a transducer, will be used to capture images of your baby, which will be displayed on the ultrasound screen.

Your specialist will move the transducer around the gel area to view different angles of your baby.

They may ask you to shift positions or hold your breath while they capture images to ensure they get the best possible look.

The scan is performed externally and transabdominally and is entirely painless and safe for both you and your baby. It usually takes around 30-45 minutes to complete.

During the growth scan, your specialist will examine and measure several different aspects of your baby’s growth and development, including:

  • The circumference of your baby’s head

  • The circumference of your baby’s abdomen

  • The length of your baby’s thigh bone (femur)

  • The amount of amniotic fluid around your baby

  • Your baby’s position and movements in the womb

  • The position and maturity of your placenta

Using growth charts and measuring your baby’s size against the number of weeks in pregnancy, your specialist can assess your baby’s development.

They will also provide an estimated foetal weight.

What Essential Body Parts Are Checked During a Growth Scan?

In addition, during the scan, several essential body parts are checked to ensure everything is developing as it should.

Here are a few of the most important things your specialist will be looking at:

  • During the growth ultrasound, your doctor will examine your baby’s brain to ensure it’s growing as it should be. This is crucial, as the brain acts as the control centre of the body, guiding all other bodily functions.

  • The heart is one of the first things to form in the womb, so it’s important to check for any anomalies during your ultrasound scan. Your specialist will examine the heart’s size, shape, and rhythm, ensuring it works properly to pump blood throughout the body.

  • To ensure your baby is breathing smoothly, your doctor will check the diaphragm, the muscle responsible for inhaling and exhaling air. They’ll check its size and position to ensure it’s within normal limits, so your baby can take those first breaths with ease.

  • The stomach plays a vital role in your baby’s growth, acting as the first food processor. Your specialist will examine the stomach’s size and position to ensure it’s functioning normally.

  • The kidneys are an essential part of the body’s waste removal system. Your specialist will examine their size and position during the ultrasound scan, making sure they’re developing correctly to keep your baby’s blood clean and healthy.

  • The bladder is vital for holding urine and ensuring proper elimination of waste. Your doctor will check its size and location.

Comprehensive Growth Scans for Your Baby’s Well-Being and Peace of Mind

We also check for an Ebstein heart anomaly – a rare congenital heart defect in which the tricuspid valve forms abnormally.

Although this condition can be difficult to detect until the third trimester, growth ultrasound scans can help identify it early on.

Sometimes, a more detailed examination is needed. Your specialist may check your baby’s limbs and fluid spaces within the head and perform

Doppler measurements to confirm blood flow. Doppler ultrasound is a special type of imaging that employs sound waves to visualise blood moving through blood vessels.

It is based on the Doppler effect, where sound waves are reflected off moving objects, such as red blood cells, to measure their velocity.

If your baby’s measurements are within the expected range, they will likely be average-sized.

However, your specialist may request further testing if your baby is tracking small or larger.

This may include additional growth scans or amniocentesis to check for chromosomal abnormalities.

It’s important to remember that every baby grows at their own pace, and there can be significant variations in growth from week to week.

Your healthcare team will take all this into account when evaluating your baby’s development.

During the growth scan, you will see your baby on the screen and watch as they move around in the womb.

It’s a special moment for many expecting parents and can provide a sense of reassurance and comfort.

After the scan, your specialist will go over the results with you, answering any questions you may have and providing guidance on any next steps that may be necessary.

What might you find in a growth ultrasound?

Growth scans are about assessing the overall wellbeing of your baby.

Your specialist will look for potential issues or abnormalities that may affect your baby’s health.

A growth ultrasound may reveal that your baby is growing as expected and falls within the average range.

This is a reassuring outcome and could mean no further testing or monitoring is required.

If your baby is smaller than expected, it may be a sign of small for gestational age (SGA).

This can be caused by various factors, such as problems with the placenta or disease in the pregnant person.

SGA can heighten risks during pregnancy, birth, and beyond, which is why it’s important to keep an eye on your baby’s development through regular growth scans.

On the other hand, if your baby is larger than expected, it may be a sign of large for gestational age (LGA).

This can be caused by hereditary factors, weight gain during pregnancy, or gestational diabetes. LGA babies are at a higher risk of long and challenging deliveries, injuries at birth, and complications related to gestational diabetes.

Every pregnancy is unique, and your specialist will work with you to address any concerns or issues that may arise during your growth scan.

The most important thing is to ensure the health and wellbeing of you and your baby.

What do the results look like?

Rest assured that you will receive the results of your baby’s growth scan immediately following your appointment.

A detailed report will be sent directly to your email for your convenience and peace of mind.

When you receive your growth ultrasound results, you may see images of your baby.

These images will show different parts of your baby’s body, such as the head, abdomen, and thigh bone, as well as the placenta and amniotic fluid.

Your specialist will measure these different parts to assess your baby’s growth and development.

You might also be able to see your baby’s movement and their position inside the womb.

Keep in mind that ultrasound images can be affected by your baby’s position, so not all measurements may be completely accurate.

In addition, these images are snapshots in time, and babies tend to grow and develop quickly in the last trimester of pregnancy.

However, ultrasounds are still a safe and effective way to monitor your baby’s growth and overall wellbeing.

After your growth ultrasound, you should listen to the advice of your specialist and ask any questions you may have.

Depending on your results, you may need to schedule follow-up appointments or additional tests.

But in general, there’s no specific care required after the exam, and you can continue with your regular daily activities.

Finally, remember that even if the results of your growth scan fall outside the average range, it doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with your baby.

Your specialist will work with you to ensure that you and your baby are healthy and safe throughout your pregnancy, birth, and into the future.

Schedule your private growth scan today

A growth scan is a safe and non-invasive way to check your baby’s growth and development during the third trimester of pregnancy.

In addition, the images captured offer a special moment for expecting parents. It’s an opportunity to bond with your little one and watch as they move around in the womb.

If you’re considering having a growth scan, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team for more information and to schedule your appointment.

March 08, 2023
By Dr Ayman Mahfouz

Breast Ultrasound Procedure: What should you expect?

breast ultrasound is a non-invasive, painless, and safe way to examine the internal structure of the breast.

This procedure is a valuable tool in the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer and provide information to help guide treatment decisions.

In this article, we’ll discuss what to expect during a breast ultrasound at our private clinic, potential findings, and what happens after you get your results.

We understand that undergoing a breast scan can be an emotional experience, which is why our compassionate and highly trained specialists offer the care and support you need throughout the entire process.

Whether you have a family history of breast cancer or any other concerns, we are here to help you understand your options and guide you through the process.

What is a breast ultrasound?

A breast ultrasound is a diagnostic imaging procedure that utilises sound waves to create detailed images of the breast tissue. It’s a non-invasive method of assessing the health of the breasts.

A private breast scan is performed by a specialist who applies a water-based gel to the skin and uses a handheld device called a transducer to send and receive harmless sound waves.

The sound waves are converted into images that can be viewed on a monitor.

The procedure typically takes around 30 minutes to complete and should not cause any pain or discomfort.

One of the main advantages of a breast ultrasound is that it can help identify small, benign, or malignant lumps that may not be visible on a mammogram.

It can also help distinguish between solid and fluid-filled abnormalities and provide important information about a lump’s size, shape, and location.

Breast ultrasound can also help the specialist guide a biopsy needle to a specific breast area for further testing if required.

Keep in mind that breast ultrasound results are not always conclusive. However, they can be a valuable tool in the early detection and diagnosis of breast conditions and offer crucial information to help guide your next steps and treatment decisions.

What to expect during your breast scan

Undergoing a private breast scan can be nerve-wracking, but our specialists are available to support you throughout the process.

During your ultrasound, our team member will first identify any potential risk factors that may affect your screening results.

These factors could include a family history of breast cancer, specific genetic mutations, or previous breast biopsies or surgeries.

Based on this information, they will advise you on the most appropriate tailored screening plan for you.

Next, you will undergo an ultrasound of the breasts. The scan will be performed by a Specialist Imaging Radiology Doctor who will explain what they are seeing and answer any questions you may have.

In addition to your breasts, our specialist will examine the lymph nodes in the armpits to check if they are enlarged or have any abnormalities.

Throughout the entire process, your healthcare provider is available to ease your concerns and address any issues.

They understand that a breast scan can be a scary experience and will do everything they can to make you feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible.

What might you find in a breast ultrasound?

During a breast ultrasound, our specialists may come across a variety of findings:

  • Benign lumps: This includes fibroadenoma, a solid tumour made up of glandular and fibrous tissue; simple cysts, fluid-filled sacs that are typically harmless; and epidermoid inclusion cysts or sebaceous cysts, small lumps generally found just under the skin.

  • Cancer lumps: This includes any lump or mass that could be cancerous and requires further investigation, such as a biopsy.

  • Infection: Common infections include mastitis, an infection of the breast tissue most common in breastfeeding people, and abscesses, a collection of pus within the breast tissue.

  • Pregnancy abnormalities: This includes lactating adenoma, a benign tumour that forms during pregnancy or breastfeeding, and galactocele, a fluid-filled cyst that may develop during breastfeeding.

  • Lumps with indeterminate cancer risk: This includes papilloma, a wart-like growth found in the breast ducts.

Not all lumps or abnormalities found during a breast ultrasound will be cancerous. Our specialists will work closely with you to discuss any potential findings and the next steps in your care.

What do the results look like?

When interpreting the results of a breast ultrasound, remember that it is just one piece of the diagnostic puzzle.

Our specialists will use the information gathered during the ultrasound in combination with other tests, such as a mammogram or biopsy, to make a final diagnosis.

Ultrasound results can appear in either black and white or colour. The images produced by the ultrasound machine typically show different shades of grey, white, and black depending on the density of the tissue being examined.

Lumps or masses that appear as darker or solid areas on the image may be cancerous, while those that appear white may be benign.

Please keep in mind that not all breast cancers will appear as a lump or mass on an ultrasound image. In some cases, the tumour may be too small to see or may not produce any noticeable changes in the tissue.

For that reason, healthcare professionals often combine ultrasound results with other tests and examinations to make an accurate diagnosis.

Ultimately, interpreting the results of a breast ultrasound requires expertise and experience.

Our team are Specialist Doctors and are highly trained in translating these images and will work closely with you to provide a clear path forward.

What happens next?

After your ultrasound results have been shared with you, the specialist doctor will sit down with you and discuss the next steps.

They will take the time to explain your results in detail, addressing any questions or concerns you may have along the way. They will also advise on any further testing or follow-up appointments that may be necessary.

Following your appointment, your healthcare provider will formulate a report of the findings and share these with you via email.

Ultrasound plays a critical role in the diagnostic process, and your healthcare team will work with you to ensure the most appropriate course of action is taken.

It’s completely normal to feel anxious about the results of any medical test, but rest assured that our specialists will be by your side every step of the way.

They will make sure that you fully understand your options and what to expect moving forward, empowering you with the information you need to make educated and beneficial decisions about your health.

Schedule your breast scan

Breast ultrasounds are a safe and non-invasive way to assess the health of your breasts. The compassionate specialists at Harley Street Ultrasound will guide you through the process, from identifying any risk factors to tailoring the screening to your needs.

Remember, early detection is vital to successfully treating any breast condition.

Don’t wait. Take control of your breast health with a breast ultrasound, and schedule an appointment with us today.

February 25, 2023
By Dr Ayman Mahfouz

Armpit Lumps: Causes, Symptoms and How an Ultrasound Can Help with Diagnosis

Armpit lumps are a common occurrence for both men and women. They can range in size and have multiple causes. Finding a lump in your armpit can be alarming, but armpit lumps are not always a reason to worry. Many go away on their own.

You can put your mind at ease or make future treatment decisions once you know the nature of a lump in the armpit.

A quick, pain-free private Armpit / Axilla Ultrasound at Harley Street Ultrasound can give you the answers you need.

Symptoms of armpit lumps

An armpit lump may be as small as a pea, or it may be as large as a golf ball. It may feel soft or hard to the touch.

You may also notice that the spot where the lump is felt feels hot.

Other common symptoms of a lump in an armpit can include the following:

  • Lump grows larger when you’re very active, such as when exercising, but shrinks when you’re at rest

  • Pus – a thick, yellow or greenish discharge – emanating from the lump

  • Lump moves around slightly when pushed on

  • Pain when pressing on the lump

  • Fever or night sweats

  • Swollen lymph nodes anywhere in the body

It’s possible to experience several of these symptoms simultaneously.

Common causes of armpit lumps

Hair follicle problems

Nearly everyone has hair follicles under their arms. You can have a variety of problems with these follicles that cause an armpit lump. Some of the most common include:

  • Ingrown hairs – hairs (often itchy or irritated) stuck beneath the surface that can become aggravated by shaving, waxing, and deodorant use

  • Boils or carbuncles – abscesses caused by


    Staphylococcus aureus


    bacteria in the follicle

  • Cysts that form around hair follicles

  • Folliculitis – inflammation of the follicle resembling acne

  • Hidradenitis suppurativa – a chronic inflammatory skin condition where skin rubs against skin

Skin issues

When your skin gets irritated, it can result in a lump under the arm. Shaving can irritate the skin, as can chafing from sports or working in hot weather. Impetigo is a common skin condition caused by Staphylococcus bacteria that produces a rash and blisters.

Also known as acrochordons, skin tags form where the skin rubs against itself, including in the armpit. Some skin tags can grow to be as large as a few centimetres in size, making them feel like a lump in the armpit.

Lipomas are fatty tissue just beneath the skin. These growths are mostly harmless but can be irritating and unsightly.


Injury to the armpit area can cause a lump to form. Whether you have overstretched or had a trauma to the armpit, you may develop an armpit lump. A blow in contact sports, a car accident, or similar incident may be the culprit.

Allergic reaction

An allergic reaction can cause a lump in the armpit. Most likely, it’s something external that has irritated the skin. However, allergic reactions can also manifest from the inside out, leaving you with a lump under your arm.

Bacterial, viral or fungal infection

We’ve already mentioned some infection possibilities associated with the hair follicles behind armpit lumps. But many other types of bacteria, viruses, and fungi can provoke a lump under the arm.

Most commonly, the influenza virus (the flu) and mononucleosis caused by the Epstein-Barr virus are to blame. The flu typically circulates more during winter months when people are indoors, and some years have worse strains than others.

Many infections will also cause swollen lymph nodes. You have clusters of lymph nodes throughout the body, including under the arms. They contain immune cells to fight infection and therefore become swollen when actively working to fight off bacteria and viruses.

Post-vaccination reaction

Have you had a vaccine recently? Some people get an armpit lump temporarily after receiving a vaccine, including the COVID-19 vaccine. This is your body’s response to the vaccine, as your immune system is being triggered to fight future infection.

Benign and cancerous tumours

While a lump under the arm could possibly be cancer, there are many, many types of tumours that could also account for the lump, many of them benign (harmless). For example, fibroadenomas are benign breast lumps that can be felt in the armpit. Many don’t even require treatment, only monitoring.

There are more serious kinds of tumours, though, including soft tissue sarcomas and breast cancer, that can also form a lump in the armpit. That’s why it’s important to follow up with a diagnosis, starting with an ultrasound. If needed, a biopsy can be performed for more information.

Leukaemia or lymphoma

Leukaemia is a form of cancer of the blood that begins with a rogue cell in the bone marrow and affects the white blood cells of your immune system. It can sometimes present as an armpit lump, as can lymphoma.

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph system. There are many types of lymphoma, requiring different treatments and carrying very different prognoses.

Systemic lupus erythematosus

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease where the body attacks its own tissues. It causes inflammation – sometimes localised and sometimes widespread over the body – and hence may result in an armpit lump.

How an ultrasound helps with the diagnosis of a lump in your armpit

Also known as sonography, ultrasound uses sound waves to create an image of what’s in your body. A transducer that looks a little like a small microphone sends the sound waves beneath the skin and also records the waves that are echoed back.

Sound waves react differently to various types of tissue and are consequently reflected back in a unique way to give an image. You’ve probably seen these images of babies before they were born and know how accurate they are.

An ultrasound can usually detect the difference between different types of tumours based on their characteristics and how they respond to sound waves. It can also tell the difference between a cyst and a tumour, for instance.

If you’re worried about an armpit lump, an ultrasound is a good place to start investigating. We will let you know if we think a biopsy or another type of follow-up is recommended.

What to expect during and after your ultrasound for an armpit

Ultrasounds are a preferred first step in diagnosing many armpit lumps because they are noninvasive and painless. At Harley Street Ultrasound, a medical doctor who is a specialist will perform your ultrasound.

At your appointment, a clear, hypoallergenic, water-based gel is applied under the arm. This helps the transducer get better images during the ultrasound test, and it helps it glide better over your skin for greater comfort. It may feel cool for a few seconds, but most patients hardly notice it.

You may be asked to move your arm slightly for the best position to obtain clear images. The whole process usually takes less than an hour. Your doctor will let you know the findings right away, and we aim to have a report and images for you on the same day.

There’s no downtime required afterwards, so you can go about your day normally, whether that’s work, school or home activities.

When to schedule an ultrasound for a lump in your armpit

You can schedule an ultrasound for an armpit lump any time with Harley Street Ultrasound for your own peace of mind. That’s the advantage of going to a private ultrasound service; there’s no waiting for a referral or for NHS approval.

You get same-day results at Harley Street Ultrasound, so you know if you don’t need treatment or if you should follow up with another physician. Getting an ultrasound at Harley Street Ultrasound will not keep you from continuing care with your regular NHS provider.

When it comes to armpit lumps, we recommend either seeing your physician or scheduling an ultrasound as soon as possible if:

  • You have an armpit lump that lasts longer than two weeks.

  • The lump grows bigger.

  • You have had a lump removed and it grows back.

  • The symptoms of your armpit lump are getting worse, such as the pain is increasing.

  • You have pain accompanying your armpit lump.

  • You have a fever or another sign of infection.

We understand it can be hard these days to see your normal medical provider and that getting an ultrasound can help when you would otherwise wait weeks to see someone.

To schedule your ultrasound for an armpit lump, you can ring Harley Street Ultrasound on 0203 904 4441, or book online.

Still have questions? We’re happy to answer them on the phone, or feel free to reach out via our contact form and let us know how we can help you.

February 15, 2023
By Heba Alkutbi

Early Pregnancy Scans: What Can You Expect?

Congratulations on your pregnancy. The journey ahead could not be more exciting for you and your family.

As you progress and your baby grows, you’ll likely attend many healthcare appointments. In the early stages, these appointments assess your overall health and ensure your pregnancy progresses as expected.

Your 8-week pregnancy scan is a significant milestone, giving you a first look at your little bundle of joy. So, what can you expect from your early pregnancy scan? Does everyone need one? Let’s explore these questions and more.

What is an early pregnancy scan?

An early pregnancy scan is an ultrasound performed shortly after you find out you’re pregnant – typically six to 10 weeks after conception.

Depending on the circumstances, your ultrasound might be abdominal, where a technician passes a wand over your stomach. Or, it might be transvaginal, where a small wand is inserted into your vagina. Transvaginal ultrasounds allow the technician to examine the foetus more closely.

The purpose of an early pregnancy ultrasound is to assess the pregnancy’s viability and deduce an accurate date of the pregnancy. That’s why early scans are often called a viability or dating scans.

What can you expect from an 8-week pregnancy scan?

Your 8-week pregnancy ultrasound gives you your first glimpse of your growing baby. It’s an exciting and heart-warming moment, but you should not expect to see much detail at this stage. Instead, you will see a small bean-shaped figure.

If you are pregnant with twins, you might see two figures. Early on, the head is about the same size as the rest of the body.

In addition, expect to see the gestational sac and, within it, the yolk sac. Depending on the baby’s location, you might also get to hear their heartbeat.

During your early pregnancy ultrasound, your technician will not examine foetal anatomy. You are simply too early in your pregnancy for this. Instead, the technician will look at the following:

  • The pregnancy’s location, ensuring it is situated in the correct location – inside the uterus rather than outside the uterus (called an ectopic pregnancy)

  • The size of the gestational sac, which determines the age of the foetus and offers a due date

  • The heartbeat, if possible, both visually and by listening

They can also highlight any potential issues, empowering you to make informed decisions about your pregnancy journey.

Are your 8-week symptoms normal?

The first trimester is a period of rapid growth and change for both mum and bub. At eight weeks, your baby is the size of a raspberry or 16mm long. Incredibly, by week nine, your baby will be about twice this size.

At eight weeks, their head has begun to uncurl from their body, the arms are growing longer, and essential structures – bones, muscles, and skin, as examples – have started to develop. Their skin is still see-through, and they are constantly moving around.

This surge in growth and development can bring with it a slew of symptoms, including the following:

  • Fatigue

  • A metallic taste in your mouth

  • Sore breasts

  • Thicker and shinier hair

  • Bloating

  • Cramping, similar to period pain

  • Headaches

  • Morning sickness

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Frequent urination

  • A heightened sense of smell

  • Heartburn

Experiencing one or more of these symptoms is normal and not typically cause for concern. However, if you have light bleeding or spotting or significant or unusual pain, contact your doctor and schedule an early pregnancy scan.

The sooner you understand what’s causing your symptoms, the sooner you can take action.

Does everyone need an early pregnancy ultrasound?

It is your body and your baby. Whether you decide to undertake an early pregnancy scan is entirely up to you and your family.

While the choice is yours to make, early scans are recommended, particularly for expectant parents that fall into one or more of the following categories:

  • You have a history of ectopic pregnancy

  • You have a history of early miscarriage

  • You became pregnant through an assisted fertility treatment

In addition, if you are experiencing symptoms that are causing you to worry, an ultrasound can give you much-needed answers. At Harley Street Ultrasound, we give you your results on the same day as your appointment, so you don’t have to wait around.

What if you can’t see the baby or hear a heartbeat?

If you can’t see the baby or hear a heartbeat, the worst has not necessarily occurred. Often, the baby is in a position that obstructs your view and prevents the heartbeat from being heard.

Another possibility is that you have miscalculated the date of conception. If you conceived later than you thought, you might be too early in your pregnancy to see or hear anything. There might also be anatomic issues with the uterus or fibroids present that make clear ultrasound images a little more difficult to obtain.

In some scenarios, however, an early pregnancy scan can flag potential problems. If the baby is not visible inside the uterus, you could have an ectopic pregnancy. In others, a blighted ovum – where the embryo stops developing but the gestational sac remains – might be the cause. Miscarriage is, unfortunately, another possibility.

Your doctor will shed light on what is happening and the reasons why.

What happens before and after a pregnancy scan?

Before your pregnancy ultrasound, you may be advised to drink several glasses of water about an hour before your appointment. A full bladder can improve visibility. Besides this, there are no other special preparations required.

After your exam, you can return to your normal diet and activities right away, unless your doctor instructs you otherwise.

Are there any risks or adverse side effects associated with an early pregnancy scan?

When performed by a qualified, experienced, and compassionate technician, there are no known risks or adverse side effects associated with pregnancy ultrasounds. Both you and your baby will be safe during and after the examination.

Ultrasounds do not use radiation to capture images of your baby. Instead, they use harmless sound waves. Doctors have used this technology for more than three decades, and during this time, researchers have not uncovered any risks.

In addition, the ultrasound process should be pain-free. If you experience discomfort at any point, let your technician know.

Private early pregnancy scans

At Harley Street Ultrasound, we understand the rollercoaster of early pregnancy. Our tailored 8-week pregnancy scans are performed by experienced specialists, giving you total peace of mind.

Our team provides personalised advice, addresses your concerns, and gives you same-day results, so you don’t have to worry.

Committed to an industry-leading level of care, our comprehensive private ultrasound services cover every stage of pregnancy – from the early pregnancy scan and gender and foetal wellbeing scan to the anatomy scan and foetal growth scan.

We can also perform a non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT), which you can take from nine weeks gestation.

We are by your side every step of the way. Schedule your appointment online today in four easy steps or get in touch, and our team can answer any questions you might have.

We look forward to walking beside you on this exciting and life-changing journey.

November 24, 2022
By Dr Husam Wassati

Neck Lumps, Causes & Symptoms

There are many different types of neck lumps, each with its own causes and symptoms. Most are harmless and will go away on their own, while others may require follow-up testing and treatment.

Securing an accurate diagnosis is paramount, and many of the most common conditions can be diagnosed through a safe and non-invasive ultrasound.

If you would like to schedule a neck ultrasound appointment or have any questions, our team would be more than happy to assist. Visit our private neck ultrasound page to learn more about our services.

Causes of neck lumps

An enlarged or swollen lymph node is one of the most common causes of a neck lump. Lymph nodes contain cells that help the body fight infection, so they may grow when you become sick.

Conditions that can lead to enlarged lymph nodes include ear and sinus infections, dental issues, strep throat, and tonsillitis.

Neck lumps can also be caused by cancer, autoimmune diseases, and conditions impacting the thyroid gland. In some cases, injury can result in a lump in the neck muscles.

Types of neck lumps and their symptoms

Neck lumps can be hard or soft to the touch and tender or painless. Some neck lumps are located directly under the skin, and others come from growth in the tissues and organs within the neck, such as the lymph nodes, thyroid gland, parathyroid glands, neck muscles, voice box, and trachea.

Swollen lymph nodes

Lymph nodes can become swollen for many different reasons, including illness, medications, stress, infection, autoimmune disease, and cancer. They might be painless or tender to the touch. Generally, lymph nodes become swollen when they reach 1 to 2 cm in size.


Tonsillitis is a bacterial or viral infection of the tonsil lymph nodes. It is typically painful and can result in symptoms including a fever, difficulty swallowing, headaches, and swollen tonsils.

Hodgkin lymphoma

Hodgkin lymphoma is cancer that affects a part of the immune system called the lymphatic system. As the disease progresses, the body is unable to effectively fight infection. In addition to swollen lymph nodes in the neck, symptoms include fever, chills, fatigue, and unexpected weight loss.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is another cancer of the lymphatic system. It occurs when a type of white blood cell called a lymphocyte grows abnormally. Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, and groin, fever, chest pain, and stomach pain.

Infectious mononucleosis

Infectious mononucleosis – also called glandular fever – is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and typically occurs in teenagers and young adults.

Symptoms can last for two months and include fever, sore throat, headache, swollen lymph glands, fatigue, and aching muscles.


A lipoma is a fatty lump that grows slowly between the skin and an underlying layer of muscle. Soft to the touch and easily movable, they typically occur in the neck, back, abdomen, arms, and thighs. Lipomas are usually harmless and pain-free but may cause discomfort if they grow into the nerves.

Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most frequently diagnosed skin cancer. It occurs when squamous cells grow very rapidly, forming a raised bump that becomes larger over time. The growth may bleed easily and struggle to heal or heals readily but returns quickly.

Thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer is a rare cancer that affects the thyroid, a small endocrine gland at the base of the neck. It accounts for less than 1 per cent of all cancer incidences in the UK. Symptoms include a lump in the throat, pain in the neck, a cough, and difficulty swallowing.

Thyroid nodules

Thyroid nodules are lumps that develop in the thyroid gland. They can be solid or filled with fluid and are classified as hot, warm, or cold.

In most cases, thyroid nodules are not a cause for concern but may be a sign of an autoimmune disease or, rarely, cancer.

Symptoms include a sore throat or neck, a swollen thyroid gland, and a cough.


A goitre develops when the thyroid gland grows abnormally. It can be harmless or connected to an increase or decrease in thyroid hormone. As the goitre grows, symptoms can include difficulty breathing and swallowing, a cough, and a hoarse voice.

Throat cancer

As throat cancer is an umbrella term, it refers to cancers affecting the vocal cords, voice box, tonsils, oropharynx, and other parts of the throat.

Throat cancers more commonly occur in people with a history of excessive alcohol use or smoking or exposure to asbestos.

Symptoms depend on the type of cancer but might include a sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, difficulty swallowing, changes to the voice, and unintended weight loss.

How ultrasound can help with Neck Lump diagnosis

If you have a lump in your neck, an ultrasound of the neck is one of the first diagnostic tools you can use to determine the cause and next steps.

By capturing images of the lump and surrounding body parts, ultrasounds for neck lumps can characterise swollen or enlarged lymph nodes, vascular structures, salivary glands, and thyroid nodules.

Ultrasound findings can determine the size and nature of many neck lumps and may be enough to provide an accurate diagnosis.

However, a neck ultrasound alone may not be adequate to determine whether a neck lump is cancerous or non-cancerous.

What to expect from your ultrasound for neck lumps

neck ultrasound is a fast, non-invasive, and risk-free diagnostic tool. Unlike X-rays, they do not use radiation. Instead, ultrasounds leverage sound waves to capture images of the organs and systems within the body.

Ultrasounds do not require special preparation or downtime, and you can return to your normal activities after your appointment.

During the ultrasound, your specialist will ask you to remove any clothing obscuring your neck and throat area – this includes scarves and necklaces. You will then lie on the examination table with your throat exposed.

Your technician will apply a cool gel to the neck area – this helps sound waves travel into your body.

Then, they will gently press a wand-like device to your neck and throat. Black and white images of the inside of your neck will appear on a monitor.

When the technician has captured the required images, they will carefully remove the leftover gel.

The process does not take long, and you should not experience any pain or discomfort. If you do, let your doctor know right away.

Schedule your neck ultrasound

At Harley Street Ultrasound, we understand that you want your results as quickly as possible.

When you choose us for your neck ultrasound, we use the latest in ultrasound technology to provide you with your scans on the same day as your appointment.

You can access your ultrasound scans securely from your smartphone, computer, or any other internet-connected device, giving you peace of mind sooner.

If you are ready to get to the bottom of your neck lump, schedule your neck ultrasound today. Our dedicated and experienced team is ready to assist you on your health journey.



April 28, 2022
By Stephanie A.

Preparing Your Child for a Doctor’s Appointment

When you need to take your child for a doctor’s appointment, it’s natural to worry about how much you should tell them. On the one hand, you don’t want to concern them or cause them to worry. 

On the other hand, you want them to be prepared for what will happen. Whether it’s a check-up, a vaccination, or appointment for a test or an ultrasound scan, there are several things to consider when talking to your child about a forthcoming doctor’s appointment.


Every Child Is Different

The most important thing to remember is that every child is unique. There is no hard and fast rule and how much you tell them and when depends on them. 

If you know your child isn’t good at judging time, or they are likely to get anxious, you might decide not to tell them about the appointment too much in advance or even on the day. 

However, older children might be able to cope with knowing a bit more and might appreciate more details in advance.


Use Age-Appropriate Language

Talk to your child in a way they understand and use language that is appropriate for their age. You can get books to read together, watch television programmes, or find kid-friendly clips on YouTube

You could even show your child the doctor’s website if there are pictures of the doctor’s office and the staff who work there.  

Demonstrate What Will Happen

With younger children, you can use role-play. For example, if your child’s doctor appointment is for an ultrasound, you can pretend you are the radiologist, and your child or their favourite toy needs a scan. 

Ask them to lie back on the sofa and lift up their clothes. Very gently press on their neck, chest, tummy, or the area which will be examined, as though you are scanning them with a handheld probe.


Stick to What You Know

Don’t make promises you won’t be able to keep — for example, telling your child they won’t need a particular test or saying something won’t hurt. Instead, remember that sometimes it’s better to say as little as possible and only say what you know for sure and what they really need to know. 

Unless you specialise in paediatrics yourself, there is also a risk that you could get something wrong. 

If you give your child incorrect information, you could be faced with an awkward situation, they might not trust you the next time, or it could harm your relationship.


Choose the Right Time

If your child is likely to worry, it’s essential to pick the right time to talk. Don’t tell them at bedtime the night before their appointment because they might find it difficult to sleep. A tired child will be even less able to cope with what’s happening. 

Choose a time when you have the space to answer any questions they might have. Talk in a calm, kind manner and say positive things. Explain why they need the appointment. Ask them if they understand.  

Make Sure You’re Prepared, Too

Try to plan your child’s nap and meals to fit in with the appointment, so they’re not tired or hungry. You can take a drink and a snack with you as well as a book or a fun activity in case you need to wait. 

For some appointments, you need to follow specific instructions. For example, for an ultrasound scan, your child might need to fast for several hours or drink a certain amount of water about 45 minutes to an hour before their appointment. 

If this is the case, we will send you an email beforehand, but it’s always best to check our website in advance of your child’s appointment to be on the safe side.


Acknowledge Their Worries

If your child is concerned, encourage them to talk to you. When we speak out loud, our fears can dissipate, and we can feel more relaxed, and the same is true for kids. If they are upset, empathise and show them you care. 

Reassure them that you have confidence in them. Remember not to go over the top, though, because your child will pick up on your reactions and worry the appointment is something much bigger than it is. You can ask them, “Do you want me to hold your hand?”


Enjoy a Treat Together Afterwards

After the appointment, take your child to the playground or ice cream or another treat. But don’t make the treat contingent on good behaviour because that’s not fair. 

If your child needed a blood test and made a fuss, it wouldn’t be fair to punish them for bad behaviour. Instead, reward them with something nice, whatever happens at the appointment. 

That way, you turn the experience into a positive one, and you can both relax and unwind together.

It’s a good idea to prepare your child for their doctor’s appointment so they’re not surprised or upset on the day. If they know what to expect, they will feel more in control of the situation and are less likely to be caught off-guard and get confused or upset. 

However, every child is different, and you need to judge every situation according to your child.

April 22, 2022
By Stephanie A.

5 Important Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

When you’re pregnant, it’s natural to want to be as healthy as possible. You want to protect and nourish your unborn baby and look after yourself as your body changes.

However, it can feel like everyone is full of advice, and everywhere you look, there is more information than you can take in. To make things easier for you, here are our five top important tips for a healthy pregnancy.

1. Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet

You probably already know you should be eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day and drinking plenty of fluids to keep your baby healthy.

What you may not know is that these five big nutrients: folate, calcium, iron, zinc, and fibre, are vital for a healthy pregnancy journey.

Healthy Pregnancy Eating Tips:

Eat lentils, beans and legumes, whole grains, wheat germ, asparagus, oranges, fortified cereals, green leafy vegetables, poultry, and fish to increase folate intake.

  • Calcium-rich foods include dairy, canned fish, and soy products.

  • You can get zinc from meat, seafood, nuts, whole grains, and legumes.

  • Fibre helps prevent constipation, which is common in pregnancy, so eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

  • Eat more fish since it’s high in omega-3, a nutrient critical to brain development.

  • Don’t eat soft or unpasteurised cheese like Brie and feta because they may contain bacteria that can cause fever, miscarriage, or pregnancy complications.

2. Take Folic Acid and Vitamin Supplements

Folic acid is crucial for the proper development of the baby’s neural tube and creating new red blood cells, so you should take this supplement before conception and in the first six weeks of pregnancy.

By taking folic acid, you reduce the risk of neural-tube defects by 70 per cent. You will also need a daily supplement of vitamin D.

A pregnancy multivitamin can help you get the vitamins and minerals you need to keep your baby healthy, especially if you don’t always eat a balanced diet.

Talk to your doctor, midwife, or pharmacist about the best vitamin supplement for you.

3. Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise is important for your general health. Stay active to help control your weight, improve circulation, boost your mood, control stress, and help you sleep better.

Exercise will also help you cope with changes to your posture and strains on your joints during pregnancy. Additionally, exercise can help protect you from complications such as high blood pressure and gestational diabetes.

Aim to exercise for about 30 minutes every day. You could go for a walk or swim, or try yoga, pilates, or an exercise class especially for pregnant women.

4. Practice Kegel Exercises

Your pelvic floor muscles support your bladder, bowels, and uterus. Even though you can’t see or feel them, if you work them and make them stronger, you can help make your delivery easier and prevent problems with incontinence after your pregnancy.

You can do Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles anytime, anywhere because nobody will know you are doing them.

Here’s how to do them:

Imagine you’re on the loo, and you want to stop the flow of urine. The muscles that you squeeze are your pelvic floor muscles. Squeeze, hold for three seconds, then slowly relax. Repeat this exercise 10 times.

5. Eliminate Toxins

For a healthy pregnancy, try to eliminate the following from your lifestyle:

  • Tobacco, cigarettes, and secondhand smoke

  • Alcohol

  • Illicit drugs

  • Solvents such as paint thinners and nail polish remover

In addition, avoid the following:

  • Caffeine — or reduce the amount of coffee and tea you drink.

  • Cat litter and cat mess in the garden. This is because cats can carry a parasite that causes toxoplasmosis. Toxoplasmosis can lead to miscarriage, or the baby can develop serious health problems.

  • Harsh or toxic chemical cleaners

  • Saunas and hot tubs in case of overheating

  • Juniper, rosemary, and clary sage essential oils because they can cause uterine contractions

When you are pregnant, it’s essential that you attend your prenatal appointments so medical professionals can check your and your baby’s health. You may also have an ultrasound scan to check your baby’s development.

At Harley Street Ultrasound, pregnancy ultrasound scan services are available for different stages of your pregnancy. Get in touch to find out more or book an ultrasound scan online.

April 05, 2022
By Peter Markis

The Importance of Ultrasound

Ultrasound imaging: A safe and effective diagnostic tool

If your doctor has requested an ultrasound, you may be feeling a little apprehensive or curious about the procedure. 

The good news is that ultrasound scans are safe and pain-free in the hands of an experienced and highly Specialised Radiologist Doctors

There is no radiation involved, and in most cases, the exam is entirely non-invasive.


What is an ultrasound?

An ultrasound is a safe, generally non-invasive medical imaging and diagnostic tool. Other names for ultrasound include sonogram and ultrasonography.

Ultrasounds use sound waves to generate images of the inside of your body, allowing radiologists and your doctor to see your organs, tissue, and other structures. 

They do not use radiation like X-rays and other medical imaging technology. Broadly, ultrasounds are used for one of two reasons:

  • Pregnancy ultrasounds


    examine an unborn baby and check its health and growth status.

  • Diagnostic ultrasounds offer information about internal areas and parts of the body, such as the liver, kidneys health, and reproductive organs.

While they are a powerful and valuable tool in the right setting and under the guidance of experienced, qualified specialists, there are shortcomings. 

Ultrasounds cannot look at every structure in your body. For example, because sound waves don’t travel well through bone, ultrasound is not used to look at the brain and other organs covered by bone.


How ultrasound imaging works

Ultrasound uses sound waves to produce black-and-white images of the body’s internal structures. Waves are produced by a wand-like device called a transducer, which typically uses ceramic crystal materials called piezoelectrics. 

Piezoelectrics create sound waves when an electric field is applied and create an electric field when sound waves are applied. 

This allows the transducer to detect waves that bounce off boundaries between structures in your body — for example, the boundary between tissue and bone.

The scanner measures the speed and timing of each reflected sound wave. It uses this data to determine the distance between the transducer and the boundary. These distances are what generate images.


The value of ultrasounds as an imaging and diagnostic tool

Ultrasounds are a valuable imaging tool in the hands of a radiologist because they pose zero risk, are non-invasive, and can be used to examine many areas of the body.

pregnancy ultrasound is generally undertaken to examine the health of the baby. If you are pregnant, you might have a scan to determine the following:

  • The size and position of your baby

  • How long you have been pregnant for (gestational age)

  • If you are pregnant with multiples

  • If your baby has congenital disabilities in the spinal cord, heart, brain, and other areas of the body

  • The volume of amniotic fluid, which surrounds and protects unborn babies

Diagnostic ultrasound can give your doctor information about the following:

While a unique and widely used tool, it does have limitations. For example, it cannot produce images of every area in the body, particularly those covered by bone or that contain gas. 

Your doctor may request an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI to examine these areas.


What to expect from the ultrasound process

Ultrasounds are not painful, require minimal or no preparation, and enable you to go about your regular day-to-day activities immediately after your scan. 

While the examination process will depend on the area of the body being scanned, it generally unfolds as follows:

  • Your doctor will ask you to lie down on the examination table. You will need to expose the area being examined — that may mean removing some clothing.

  • Your doctor will apply a special ultrasound gel over the target area. It will likely feel cold.

  • Your doctor will move a wand-like device, the transducer, over the area. This sends harmless sound waves into your body. The waves are so high-pitched you won’t be able to hear them.

  • The scanner records the reflected waves and translates them into black-and-white, two-dimensional images on a screen.

  • You will see the images live on a large screen in front of you. Especially during a pregnancy ultrasound, allowing you to see your unborn baby.

  • The test will take about 20 to 40 minutes from start to finish. When your doctor has all the images required, they will wipe the gel off the target area and give you privacy to redress.


Reasons why you may need an ultrasound

There are many different reasons why you might undergo an ultrasound scan. It allows your healthcare provider to check on your baby’s well-being without using any harmful radiation.

You may need a diagnostic scan if you are experiencing symptoms in specific organs or areas. For example, a diagnostic ultrasound can give your doctor information about your reproductive system, gallbladderthyroidliver, and kidneys.

You may also need one if you have adverse breast implant symptoms.


Frequently asked questions

How do I prepare for an ultrasound?

There is very little preparation needed. In most cases, you can show up, remove any jewellery or clothing obscuring the target area, and undertake your exam. 

However, some scans require special preparation:

  • For an abdominal scan, you will need to fast for 4 hours before the scan, but you can have water, black tea or coffee without milk or sugar.

  • For a pelvic exam, you may have to drink a lot of water to fill your bladder so that images can be as clear as possible.

Your doctor will inform you of any specific preparation required if needed.


How long does an ultrasound scan take?

Ultrasound scans can take as little as 20 minutes and as long as one hour — it depends on the area or areas being examined.


Does an ultrasound scan hurt?

No. Ultrasounds are not painful. However, if you have a sore lump to the touch, you may experience some discomfort during the scan. 

You may also have to lie in a particular position, which may not be ideal. If you feel pain at any time during your scan, it’s best to tell the healthcare professional performing the ultrasound.


What areas of the body can an ultrasound examine?

The areas of the body an ultrasound can examine are the following:

  • The abdomen, which includes the liver & gallbladder, spleen, kidneys , pancreas,

     urinary tract, and larger blood vessels

  • The pelvic region, including elements of the male and female reproductive systems

  • Musculoskeletal structures, including areas like the hip, elbow, or shoulder and knees


Book a scan online

Your health matters. If your doctor has requested ultrasound or you are experiencing symptoms you’d like diagnosed, schedule your private appointment with our Specialists at Harley Street Ultrasound. 

Our dedicated team is here to make your experience as comfortable and positive as possible. Plus, we offer same-day results accessible via your computer or smartphone.

December 10, 2021
By Stephanie A.

5 Small Habits That Can Help Improve Your Health Over Time

When life is busy, making the changes you need to improve your health can feel like a challenge. Chances are, you’d like to eat a healthier diet, and you know you should be working out three times a week, but you simply don’t have the time or the inclination.

Luckily, with less effort than you might think, you can make small changes to your lifestyle, and these changes soon become habits that are good for your health.

Here are five habits you can adopt starting right now. Before long, you’ll be reaping the rewards associated with better physical and mental health.

1. Drink More Water

The UK government’s Eatwell Guide recommends that we drink six to eight glasses of fluid a day. We need this amount of fluids to stay hydrated to aid digestion, for our heart and circulation, for temperature control, and for our brain to work well.

Water is cheap, caffeine-free, has no calories, and contains no sugars that can damage teeth.

How to Do It 

Keep a refillable water bottle with you at all times and get into the habit of sipping from it regularly. If you don’t like plain tap water, you can add flavour to it with strawberry slices, cucumber, fresh mint, fruit juice, or flavoured ice cubes straight from the freezer.

2. Be More Active

An ideal target for exercise should be 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity a week, plus strengthening activities at least two days a week. However, if this sounds like a lot, don’t worry.

Exercise doesn’t have to be a long run or workout session at the gym. Remember that exercising just once or twice a week can reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke.

In addition, regular exercise helps you sleep better, manage stress and anxiety, and feel happier for all-around better mental health.

How to Do It

  • Aim to do some type of physical activity every day, even if it’s only a walk during your lunch break.

  • Take the stairs instead of opting for the lift.

  • Get off the tube or the bus one stop early and walk the rest of the way.

  • Play football or go rollerskating with the kids at the weekend.

  • Try a home workout video on YouTube or Facebook in your own time.

  • Do a set number of push-ups, crunches, or burpees every single day.

  • Mow the lawn.

  • Cycle to work.

3. Start the Day With Breakfast

Instead of dashing out to work every morning on an empty stomach, start each day with a healthy breakfast. Breakfast should include carbs for energy and brain fuel, and protein to keep up your muscle mass and metabolism.

Protein will also help you feel full until your next meal, so you’re less likely to grab a slice of cake or a bar of chocolate with your morning coffee.

How to Do It

A good healthy breakfast can be wholegrain cereal with milk and fruit, a banana, trail mix, eggs, yoghurt, cottage cheese, nuts or legumes. Shop in advance for breakfast foods you enjoy. Don’t forget to set your alarm clock for 10 minutes earlier than your normal wake-up time so you can enjoy your breakfast.

4. Get More Sleep

It can be so tempting to stay up late and binge-watch the latest Netflix series or play video games. But most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night for good health. If you don’t get enough sleep, you will feel irritable, your concentration and mood will be affected, and you will be tempted to eat more to get an energy fix.

In the long run, lack of sleep can contribute to anxiety and depression, affect your immune system and gut health and lead to more serious health complications such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.

How to Do It

Set a regular bedtime routine and stick to it. This means adhering to the same bedtime every night to get your body clock used to the schedule. Make your bedroom sleep-friendly. End your day with a warm bath and something that helps you to relax.

5. Make Time for Mental Wellbeing

Good mental health and wellbeing are essential to living a happy and healthy life. Practising mindfulness can help to manage depression, stress and some anxiety problems. Use a few moments every day to be more mindful.

The technique, which has its roots in Buddhism and meditation, involves being aware of yourself, being present in the moment, and noting your thoughts and feelings and the world around you.

How to Do It

Take time every day to slow down. Close down social media for a while or turn off your phone. Concentrate on your breathing and how things around you smell, taste and feel. You can practise mindfulness anywhere; try using online mindful breathing videos or an app like Headspace.

A habit is something that you do without thinking. It’s easier than you think to adopt better habits to improve your physical and mental health if you concentrate on making a few small tweaks to everyday routines.

If you’re worried about your health, seek medical advice and get in touch with us at Harley Street Ultrasound Group. Based in London’s private medical district, we specialise in ultrasound scans for private diagnostic medical imaging.

October 22, 2021
By Peter Markis

3 Actionable Tips For Better Sleep

Sleep is essential to both our mental and physical health. So why does it seem like such a challenge to get a consistent amount of rest every night?

There are many factors that can cause a lack of sleep, including stress, illness, and the light from current technologies.

If you struggle with sleep, don’t fret. While you can’t control every little thing that interrupts your sleep cycle, there are steps you can take to help improve the rest you get each night.

Why Is Sleep Important for Our Health?

Believe it or not, getting consistent and adequate sleep is as important to our health as a healthy diet and regular exercise. Having a good quality night of sleep helps improve our physical and mental health.

While you sleep, your body works to repair itself, supporting healthy brain function, growth, and development. Your brain forms new pathways to improve your ability to learn and retain information. Sleep also helps your attentiveness, creativity, and decision-making.

It’s not just your brain that repairs overnight. Your body also repairs your heart and blood vessels. This helps reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, stroke, and even obesity. In addition, sleep lets your body maintain balance in your hunger levels and insulin.

Lacking sleep can also prevent you from properly processing positive emotional information. This is why lack of sleep is tied to mental health struggles, such as depression, anxiety, seasonal affective disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and much more.

How Much Sleep Do I Need?

The amount of sleep each person needs depends on the person’s age. Adults 18 and older generally need between seven to nine hours a night. And those hours must be all at once. A lack of sleep during the night followed by a long nap, or a weekend of sleeping in, is not enough for your body to adequately repair itself.

For optimal sleep, you need a steady sleep-wake cycle along with the proper amount of sleep. So planning to get between seven and nine hours every night, even on the weekends, is the best way to consistently get healthy sleep.

How Can I Improve My Sleep?

It may seem like a lot is riding on a good night’s sleep! But thankfully, there are tweaks you can make to your routine and habits to improve your night’s rest. Here are three actionable ways to consistently get better sleep.

Turn your bedroom into a sleep-inducing oasis

The best way to start improving your rest is to optimise your bedroom’s sleeping conditions. There are several things you can do to make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary.

  • Invest in a high-quality mattress and pillow:

     You can’t sleep well if you’re not sleeping comfortably. A proper mattress will support your spine, reducing the likelihood of aches and pains. The same goes for your pillow. You need a pillow that will properly support your neck and skull, keeping your spine aligned. Everyone sleeps differently, so the type of mattress and pillow you require will depend on your specific preferences.

  • Keep your bedroom cool:

     While you don’t want to be too cold or too hot as you try to drift off, temperature does play a role in sleeping well. Your body’s temperature fluctuates and drops throughout the night. Trying to sleep in a warm bedroom can leave you tossing and turning. It can interfere with your body’s natural thermoregulation abilities. It can also hinder each stage of the sleep cycle. So keeping your bedroom around 

    a cool 18 degrees Celsius

     will improve your body’s ability to rest.

  • Keep your bedroom for sleeping only:

     The mental cues that come with your bedroom can make a surprising difference in your ability to sleep. If you work, eat, or otherwise entertain yourself in your bed, then your body doesn’t solely associate it with sleep. Instead, get out of bed and make it at the beginning of each day. Only come back to it in the evening when you’re ready to relax.

  • Drown out the noise and light:

     If you live near a busy street, have noisy neighbours, or even just thin walls, external sounds can affect your sleep. The same goes for the light coming through your windows. Natural sunlight during the day will help you sleep better at night. The same can’t be said, however, for street lamps brightening your room at night or streaks of sunlight hitting your eyes before you’re ready to start your day. To tackle these distractions, use white noise and blackout curtains. White noise playlists or machines can help drown out external noises, and blackout curtains keep your room dark enough for optimal sleep.

Make it a point to relax before bed

While you may think that sleep issues start when you go to bed, the time preceding your bedtime is important as well. Going to bed carrying stress or excess energy makes it difficult to fall asleep.

Take between 30 minutes to an hour before bed to focus on relaxation habits. Consider adding some of these to your pre-bedtime routine:

  • Take a hot bath or shower.

  • Lower the lights.

  • Listen to relaxing music.

  • Meditate.

  • Read a book.

Most importantly, avoid electronic devices within 30 minutes of going to bed. The blue light that comes from cell phones, laptops, and tablets can mess with your circadian rhythm and keep you awake. At the very least, use blue light filters to reduce the effect.

Starting the process of relaxing before you actually go to bed will help you fall asleep sooner and improve your overall sleep quality.

Tweak your daytime habits

The way you spend your day can also affect the way you sleep at night. There are several things to do throughout the day to prepare yourself for a good night of sleep.

  • Take in natural light:

     Daylight helps regulate your body’s internal clock. So getting natural light from outside or even open doors and windows can help normalise your body’s rhythm. If you have trouble getting natural light in your day, consider a light therapy box.

  • Cut out caffeine early:

     It goes without saying that the later in the day you take in caffeine, the longer it will keep you awake in the evening. Whether you switch to decaf in the afternoon or cut your afternoon coffee completely, make sure you stop consuming caffeine between six to eight hours before your bedtime.

  • Exercise:

     Moving your body daily has obvious benefits to your physical health, but it can also help with your sleep. 

    Studies show

     that exercise can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep by 55% and increase sleep time by 18%. However, don’t exercise too soon before bed. This will cause your body’s temperature and energy levels to rise, making it harder to settle down.

Sleep is a critical piece to your physical and mental health. By making some subtle changes in your day-to-day habits, you can improve your quality of sleep and, therefore, your quality of life.

September 14, 2021
By Dr Ayman Mahfouz

Breast Pain Possible Causes

Why Do My Breasts Hurt?

Breast pain is a common condition that is usually nothing to worry about.

However, it’s important to know the difference between harmless breast pain and pain that may indicate a more serious underlying condition so you can quickly access the care you need.

Types of Breast Pain

There are two main types of breast pain: cyclical and non-cyclical.

  • Cyclical pain is linked to your hormones or reproductive cycle.

  • Non-cyclical pain is unrelated to your reproductive cycle.

The symptoms you experience may vary depending on which type of pain you have.

Cyclical Breast Pain Symptoms

Cyclical symptoms include:

  • An achy or heavy sensation – normally, both breasts are affected

  • Breasts that feel lumpy

  • Pain that can spread to the armpits

The pain typically starts up to two weeks before your period and stops when your period ends.

Cyclical breast pain is most common in women in their 20s and 30s and those approaching menopause.

Non-Cyclical Breast Pain Symptoms

The symptoms of non-cyclical breast pain include:

  • Constant or unpredictable discomfort

  • Pain isolated to one breast, or one section of your breast

  • Fever and/or a hot breast

  • Nipple discharge

  • Hard lump

There are many causes of non-cyclical breast pain, including:

  • Cysts

  • Infection

  • Muscle sprain

  • Some type of medication

  • Breast cancer (less common)

You’re more likely to develop pain if you have large or heavy breasts, take certain hormones pills, have a history of breast surgery, or have a family history of breast cancer or cysts.

When to Talk to Your Doctor About Breast Pain

Although you can often manage the pain at home, you should contact your doctor if you develop any of the following symptoms:

  • The pain interferes with sleep or daily activities.

  • Your breast pain worsens over time.

  • The pain lasts more than a week or two.

  • Painkillers don’t relieve the pain.

Ask for an urgent appointment if you have:

  • A fever

  • Any hard lump in your breast that doesn’t move

  • Breast shape changes or skin thickening

  • Redness, heat or swelling around any part of your breast

  • Dimpling around the skin (patches of your skin may resemble an orange peel)

  • Nipple discharge

  • A sunken nipple or shape changes

  • A history of breast cancer in the family

If you don’t have these symptoms but you’re still worried about your breast pain, speak to your doctor or contact our Breast Specialists to arrange a breast ultrasound for your peace of mind.

Diagnosing Breast Pain

To investigate what’s causing your breast pain, you will undergo a physical examination.

The exam involves checking your breasts and the lymph nodes in your neck and armpits to identify any signs of changes.

Depending on what your doctor identifies during the physical exam, you may need one or more of the following diagnostic tests.


A mammogram is an x-ray of your breast that identifies possible problems within the breast, such as cancerous tumours or benign cysts.

Mammograms are preferable for women over 40.

Breast Ultrasound

A breast ultrasound uses sound waves to capture images of your breast tissue. Like mammograms, ultrasounds are helpful for diagnosing breast conditions such as cysts and tumours.

If you’re under 40, in most cases, a breast ultrasound is just as effective as a mammogram for identifying breast problems.


During a biopsy, the doctor removes a small section of breast tissue that can be analysed for signs of cancer or other abnormal cells.

How Breast Ultrasounds Are Performed

If you need a breast ultrasound, you’re probably wondering what to expect.

Essentially, a breast ultrasound is a painless and non-invasive way to examine your breast tissue in more detail.

The imaging specialist places some gel on your breast and moves a probe over your skin that projects images onto a computer screen.

Based on the images, the specialist can detect signs of breast abnormalities that may require further investigation.

You don’t need to prepare for a breast ultrasound, and you can go home once the scan is complete.

Ultrasounds are a safe and comfortable way to put your mind at ease regarding any pain or discomfort in the breast region, especially if you’re under 40, so book an appointment online if you have any concerns.

Treating Breast Pain

Treatment options for the pain in your breast depend on the underlying cause but include:

  • Using a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) gel on the affected area

  • Prescription medication

  • Switching birth control pills

If there’s a cyst or tumour causing your pain, then your doctor will advise you what treatment options are available.

Managing Breast Pain at Home

Breast pain is normally self-limiting, meaning that it goes away on its own. In the meantime, here are some tips for managing the pain at home.

  • Take a painkiller like paracetamol or ibuprofen.

  • Wear a supportive bra, and consider wearing a soft bra to bed until your symptoms pass.

  • Apply an ice or heat pack to the sore breast.

  • Try not to slump or slouch.

Preventing Breast Pain

Although not all breast pain is preventable, you can help reduce your risk of developing breast pain by:

  • Wearing a well-fitting bra

  • Avoiding hormonal medications, if possible

  • Limiting your caffeine intake

  • Following a low-fat diet

  • Always wearing a sports bra during exercise

A Breast Specialist can give you more specific advice about preventing breast pain depending on your individual circumstances.

Breast Ultrasound Screening at Harley Street Ultrasound Group

At the Harley Street Ultrasound Group, we offer a full range of breast imaging services, consultations and even full breast assessments to help identify the source of your breast pain.

Our Breast Specialists will perform a full medical history and, depending on the findings, provide you with ultrasound or mammogram to identify any possible abnormalities such as breast cancer.

We also offer further diagnostic services such as aspiration and breast tissue biopsies to help reach a definitive diagnosis.

If you have any concerns about your breast health, or even if you’re simply looking for reassurance, don’t hesitate to contact our clinic today and book your appointment online. Or, to find out more about our packages including our breast ultrasound and breast consultation services, click here.

September 07, 2021
By Dr Tahir Hussein

Testicular Cancer What You Need to Know

Testicular cancer affects the testicles, the male sex organs located inside the scrotum behind the penis.

Testicles have a vital role in the male reproductive system as they produce sperm, as well as the hormone testosterone

There are several different types of testicular cancer, the most common being germ cell testicular cancer.

Testicular cancer is actually a rare cancer, making up only 1% of the cancers that affect males.

But it’s the cancer that most commonly affects boys and men aged between 15 and 49, and it usually affects younger men.

This means that around 2,300 men are diagnosed with testicular cancer every year.

What Are the Warning Signs of Testicular Cancer?

Testicular cancer symptoms include one or more of the following:

  • A painless lump or swelling in one testicle. The lump may be similar to the size of a pea but could also be bigger.

  • A change to the texture or shape of your testicle. For example, one testicle may feel firmer than usual.

  • You may get either a dull ache or a sharp pain in your scrotum or testicle. The ache or pain may not be there all the time.

  • You may experience a heavy feeling in your scrotum.

  • One testicle may look different from the other.

  • Breast soreness and growth, caused by germ cell tumours releasing a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), is another symptom of testicular cancer.

You should also know that some men don’t experience any testicular cancer symptoms at all. Their cancer may be found during tests for other conditions, such as infertility.

What Are the Risk Factors for Testicular Cancer?

While it’s not known exactly what causes testicular cancer, there are some risk factors:

  • Family history of testicular cancer

  • Testicles that don’t drop before birth, a condition known as undescended testes

  • Abnormal cells found in the testicles called germ cell neoplasia in situ (GCNIS). These are usually detected during tests for infertility

How Can I Perform a Testicular Cancer Self-Check?

It’s a great idea to carry out a testicular cancer check on yourself as part of your health and wellness routine. Perform a testicular self-exam once a month for early detection of any signs. Here’s what to do:

1. After a warm bath or shower, check each testicle in turn, rolling it between the thumb and fingers and making sure you feel its entire surface. You might find it easier to do this in front of a mirror. The firmness of the testicles should be the same. Remember that it’s normal for one to be bigger than the other. Check for lumps and swelling.

2. Locate the epididymis, a tube at the back of each testicle, and check this area for lumps and swelling too.

3. Doing these self-examinations, you should be able to identify what does and doesn’t feel normal for you.

You shouldn’t experience any pain when you do your self-exam and your testicles should feel smooth and firm.

What Sort of Medical Exam Should I Get?

If you do find anything you are worried about, your next step is to get a medical examination.

Ultrasound is an effective way of detecting any abnormalities, which uses high frequency sound waves to build up a picture of what’s going on inside your body.

When you go for your testicular ultrasound, you may be asked to remove your clothing and wear a hospital gown.

A lubricating gel will be applied to your skin to allow the ultrasound probe to move around.

Your ultrasound test will be able to show abnormalities such as a solid lump that might be cancer or other conditions, such as harmless fluid-filled cysts.

As well as being effective, it’s a very safe medical test that has been used for decades with none of the risks associated with other tests like x-rays, for example.

It’s painless, although may feel a little uncomfortable, and no downtime is required, so you can go straight back to your everyday life afterwards.

Why Is Early Detection So Important?

When it comes to testicular cancer, early detection is so important because it means you can start the right treatment sooner, with a high chance of being cured.

In fact, testicular cancer is known as one of the most treatable forms of cancer, with one of the best prognoses.

Statistics say that 99% of men diagnosed with testicular cancer will survive for a year or over following diagnosis, and 98% will survive for five years or more.

Nearly every man who is diagnosed with germ cell testicular cancer, which accounts for 95% of testicular cancers, will be cured. It’s very unusual for it to come back more than five years later.

Rest assured that the majority of patients who are diagnosed with testicular cancer can be treated effectively and cured.

You should also know that even if you find a lump or swelling in your testicle, it may not necessarily be a sign of testicular cancer. Lumps may be varicocele, which is a swollen blood vessel, or an epididymal cyst, which is a cyst in the tube near the testicle.

Swelling may also be caused by injury or infection.

If you do find a lump, swelling or any other symptom, then it’s best to get checked out as soon as you can so you can either be reassured that it’s nothing serious or can take the next step to effective treatment without delay.

What Are the Treatment Options for Testicular Cancer?

If you’ve been diagnosed with testicular cancer, then it is likely that the affected testicle will be removed. But this does not usually impact fertility or having sex.

Sometimes chemotherapy or radiotherapy may be offered for more unusual types of testicular cancer called seminomas.

Scans by Specialists with Same-Day Results

It’s good to know what the warning signs of testicular cancer are and how to check your body regularly for any symptoms.

If you do have a concern, it’s best to get checked out as soon as possible. Harley Street Ultrasound offers scans by specialist consultants with same-day results so you spend less time worrying, and you’ll get timely advice on further management and the next steps.

Your testicular ultrasound will also include:

  • A one-to-one consultation with a doctor

  • A full digital report

  • High-res digital images

No referral is required and it’s easy to book online, so get in touch with us straight away for the peace of mind that comes with fast results.

May 24, 2021
By Dr Ayman Mahfouz

How to Check for Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is cancer that develops in breast cells. The most common cancer for females in the UK, Cancer Research UK reports 55,176 new breast cancer cases in the UK between 2015 and 2017, and 11,547 deaths between 2016 and 2018.

Men can be diagnosed with breast cancer as well as women, but it’s much rarer in men. Ninety-nine per cent of breast cancer cases in the UK are in females, and 1 per cent are in males.

It is essential that you know how to check for breast cancer and recognise potential signs of the disease, so you can seek medical attention as soon as possible. Early diagnosis gives you a better chance of treatment and cure.

What Is Breast Cancer?

Typically, breast cancer forms in the lobules or the ducts of the breast. The lobules are the glands that produce milk, and the ducts are the pathways that bring the milk from the glands to the nipple.

Cancer can also occur in the breast’s fatty tissue or the fibrous connective tissue in your breast.

Two categories are used to describe the most common types of breast cancer: invasive and noninvasive cancer. Invasive cancer means the cancer has spread from the breast ducts or glands to other parts of the breast.

Noninvasive cancer means the cancer has not spread from the original tissue.

Treatment for Breast Cancer

If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, you may need to see a breast surgeon. Your treatment will depend on a number of factors, including your cancer’s size, stage and how far it has invaded your body or is likely to grow and spread. 

Signs and Symptoms of Breast Cancer

Many people associate breast cancer with a breast lump. But, a lump in your breast does not necessarily mean you have breast cancer. Nine out of 10 lumps are not cancerous. You may have a benign cyst.

You must, however, seek immediate advice from a doctor if you find a lump on your breast or notice any of the following:

  • A lump or swelling under your arm

  • Breast pain

  • A sudden change in the shape or size of your breast

  • Red, pitted skin over your breast

  • A change in the appearance of the skin on your breast

  • Tissue thickening

  • Swelling

  • Nipple discharge

  • Peeling, scaling or flaking skin on your breast or nipple

  • Inverted nipple

  • Tests to Diagnose Breast Cancer

To determine whether or not you have breast cancer, a doctor at a breast clinic will need to examine you and may need to conduct diagnostic tests. These tests might include:

A mammogram: This is an imaging test performed with the use of x-rays, usually in women above the age of 40 years, that helps your doctor see below the surface of your breast.

A breast ultrasound: This test uses echoes from sound waves to create a picture of the tissues deep in your breast so your doctor can distinguish between normal tissue, a solid tumour or a cyst.

A breast ultrasound is often the first or only imaging test used to evaluate a lump in women who are under 40 or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

In women, over 40 years old it is used to assess areas where the patient experiences symptoms or an adjunct to mammogram screening particularly in women with dense breasts.

Other tests include MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), and biopsy.

Ways to Check for Breast Cancer

The most important way to check your breasts is self-examination.

Self-examination will help you become familiar with how your breasts look and feel, so you are aware of any changes that could indicate breast cancer.

It’s a good idea to examine your breasts once a month, at the same time each month, since breasts can look and feel different at different times during the menstrual cycle.

You can also opt for a private consultation with a specialist and a breast ultrasound to check for any abnormalities.

If you identify a change or are in doubt, it is recommended to see a specialist breast surgeon who will assess your risk factors and examine your breast.

If an abnormality is detected you will require an ultrasound assessment and if over the age of 40 years old a mammogram also.

Women over 40 years old should have regular mammograms at a breast clinic to look for any changes in their breasts.

In addition, an important part of breast cancer screening is self-examination.

How to Examine Your Breasts

To examine your breasts, look at them in the mirror with your arms by your side and then with your arms raised above your head. Feel each breast and armpit and examine your breasts sitting up and lying down on your back.

It can be easier to examine yourself when you are in the bath or shower and your hands and body are soapy.

  • Has your breast shape changed?

  • Does your nipple appear to be in a different position?

  • Are there any rashes or changes in the look or feel of your skin?

  • Can you feel a new breast lump?

  • Do you notice any pain or discomfort?

  • If you notice a breast lump or any symptoms that concern you, see your doctor as soon as possible.

Harley Street Ultrasound

At Harley Street Ultrasound, we run a Breast Clinic for women who have concerns about changes in their breasts or armpits, or who would like a comprehensive breast health check from a specialist doctor.

No referral is needed, and urgent appointments are available. You can choose to have a breast ultrasound only, a breast consultation or a complete breast assessment.

Whichever option you choose, you will be under the care of a specialist breast doctor at our breast clinic in London.

By delivering a tailored approach to each patient, we pride ourselves in providing high-quality care with complete transparency at every stage and professionalism and reassurance when you need it the most.

Our aim is to provide every patient with a suitably qualified specialist trained to the highest level and experienced in carrying out relevant procedures.

As well as a comprehensive list of diagnostic examinations, we can provide minimally invasive procedures and therapies to diagnose breast cancer and other breast conditions.

Our diagnostic clinic is conveniently located in the world-renowned Harley Street in London. To make an appointment with a UK-trained specialist consultant doctor, please get in touch with us.


May 10, 2020
By Stephanie A.

Ultrasound And Its Top 5 Uses

Ultrasou­nd imaging is utilised in various medical settings, from GP to hospital specialists, such as Obstetrics, Oncology and Orthopaedics.

Ultrasound can also be done much faster than CT and MRI scans and has the advantage of having no radiation.

1. Ultrasound to Monitor your baby

  • Measuring the size of the fetus to determine the due date

  • Determining the position of the fetus

  • Checking the position of the placenta to see if it is improperly developing over the opening to the uterus (cervix)

  • Seeing the number of fetuses in the uterus

  • Checking the sex of the baby (if the genital area can be seen)

  • Monitoring the fetal growth rate and development

Get peace of mind and the reassurance you need. Please take a look at the range of Pregnancy Scan Services we offer.

2. Breast Ultrasound to detect cancer

Felt a lump in your breast?

Ultrasound is used at the earliest stage to identify what and where the nodule is in your breast and used to take samples of the lump to identify possible cancer quickly.

If you are concerned about any symptoms or new lumps that have appeared on your breasts, check out our Breast Clinic.

3. Testicular Ultrasound to detect cancer

Felt a lump in your testicle?

Ultrasound is the gold standard in imaging and identifying what it can be so any potential cancer can be picked up early.

If you do have a concern, it’s best to get checked out as soon as possible. Specialist consultants do our Testicular Ultrasound scan with same-day results, so you spend less time worrying, and you’ll get timely advice on further management and the next steps.

4. Muscle and joint pain

Keep getting aches and pains in your joints?

No longer able to do the things you were able to, or is there a limit to what you can do?

Ultrasound can have a look into the joints and identify whether there is a tear of the muscle or weakness of the tendons that are contributing to your symptoms

The Harley Street Ultrasound Group offers a vast range of accurate, reliable diagnostic imaging for Muscles and Joints for all private patients.

Whether you’re experiencing chronic joint pain or an acute injury, we can help you find out what’s going on.

5. Abdominal pain

Ultrasound is a quick and easy test to look for the cause of your abdominal pain and is often referred to by GPs as the first test to look for underlying problems like gallstones or suspicious lesions.

if you have an unusual and persistent pain that has lasted more than 3 days in your abdomen. it can indication of a more serious problem and should be evaluated.

With our Abdomen Ultrasound you will be seen by a Specialist Consultant that will be able to give you the reassurance you need.

May 06, 2020
By Dr Tahir Hussein

Could I have gallstones?

Gallstones are small stones that can develop in your Gallbladder. Many people may have gallstones and not even realise. Occasionally, gallstones can cause problems like abdominal pain, inflammation or infection of the gallbladder. This can be treated with antibiotics but will often need removal of the gallbladder to prevent it from happening again.

What are gallstones exactly?

Gallstones are small hard deposits that form inside the gallbladder due to an altered makeup of bile salts. They are usually crystallised cholesterol and are as small as a grain of sand or as big as a golf ball.

Your gallbladder is a little storage sac which sits beneath your liver in the right side of your abdomen. Its job is to store bile, a liquid made by your body to help break down fats that you eat. When you eat, the gallbladder contracts to empty the bile into the gastrointestinal tract for digestion.

How do I know I have them?

Sometimes a gallstone can leave the gallbladder and go into a bile duct, if it gets stuck in a duct and causes a blockage, you may experience many symptoms such as:

  • Pain in the right upper part of your abdomen

  • Pain in your upper back.

  • Pain after eating

  • Vomiting and nausea

  • If there is an associated infection, you may also feel feverish

  • You can also occasionally develop jaundice – where the skin turns a yellow colour

Gallbladder pain often happens after a heavy meal because the gallbladder is trying to empty itself of bile but find the exit is blocked. Pain usually subsides when the duct is no longer blocked. If this persists for more than a few hours, complications like infection can happen and it’s a good idea to get checked out by a medical professional right away.

Is there a test for gallstones?

An ultrasound scan is a quick and easy way to identify whether you have gallstones and can also be used to identify complications like obstruction or infection. This can be of your whole abdomen or just focused on the gallbladder to provide you with a quick and easy answer.

Blood tests can also help to detect evidence of inflammation or infection as well as monitor the function of your liver.

Am I at risk of developing gallstones?

You are more likely to develop gallstones as you get older, particularly over the age of 40

You are also more likely to get gallstones if you:

  • Are overweight

  • Female (twice more likely than men)

  • High cholesterol levels

  • Have a family history of gallstones

  • Lost weight rapidly e.g. because of surgery

  • Don’t eat much fibre

  • Have chronic illnesses like diabetes or Crohn’s disease

  • Take certain medication including HRT or the pill (oral contraceptive)

What should I do next?

If gallstones aren’t giving you any symptoms, your doctor will likely tell you to leave them alone. But if you do start to get symptoms you will be referred for investigations and treatment.

At Harley Street Ultrasound, we can reassure you and provide an ultrasound scan to identify whether you have gallstones and if there are any associated complications.

Can it be treated?


If you’re experiencing symptoms, your doctor will likely suggest an operation to remove the gallbladder. Luckily, this organ is not essential and once it is removed, bile can flow directly from the bladder into the intestine to continue helping with digestion. Where this is not possible, your surgeon may suggest a test called an ERCP, where a tube is used to help remove the gallstones but does not prevent them from happening.


Symptoms can also be managed with over the counter medication like paracetamol or ibuprofen should you need them and you can take them – you can always discuss this with your doctor or a pharmacist.


As cholesterol appears to play a role in forming gallstones, it is advised to avoid eating too many foods with a high saturated fat content.

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At the HSUG, our specialist team delivers private ultrasound scans designed to give you the insight and peace of mind you need. We are the experts when it comes to ultrasonic diagnosis and treatment, and we have a strong track record of providing reassurance to our patients when they need it most.

You’ll find us on Harley Street in London — a convenient location with a rich history of medical excellence. Our team is committed to continuing that history with our own set of expert services.

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