The Abdominal Ultrasound is a non-invasive diagnostic exam that captures images of the major organs in the abdomen including aorta, inferior vena cava, the appendix, liver, gallbladder, spleen, stomach, large and small intestines, pancreas, and kidneys. In addition to its diagnostic function, abdominal ultrasound is used to guide in procedures such as removing tissue and draining cysts and/or abscesses. Ultrasound is a very safe and reliable diagnostic imaging resource that assesses pathology and guides physicians towards your individualized treatment plan.
When Would I Need One?
Your doctor may recommend an abdominal ultrasound if you are experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms:
- Stomach pain
- Kidney pain
- Severe bloating
- Issues with blood chemistry
Should you have any concern of abdominal signs or symptoms, a referral from a general practitioner or family doctor is required for a diagnostic abdominal ultrasound.
How Do I Prepare For an Abdominal Ultrasound?
There are a few steps to follow in order to prepare for your abdominal ultrasound. In order for the ultrasound technician to obtain a clear image of the abdomen, it is recommended that you fast for 12 hours prior to the test and eat a fat-free diet (no dairy, meat, eggs, or fried food) for 24 hours before the procedure. Drinking water and taking medication should be carried out as usual; however, confirm this with your doctor. Dress in clothes that allow for easy access to examine the abdomen, otherwise, a medical gown will be provided.
A water-based gel is used to improve the transmission of the ultrasound waves; however, should you have any allergies to gel it is important to let the ultrasound technician know. In addition, please let the ultrasound technician know if you have had any previous surgery around the imaged area.
If you are pregnant or suspect that you may be pregnant, please notify your doctor. If you have any queries or concerns with preparing for your ultrasound, please discuss these with your physician before your appointment.
What Should I Expect From an Ultrasound?
Upon arrival, you will be shown to a private room where the ultrasound technician will offer you a medical gown to change into and you will lie on a padded examination table. You will be asked to remove any jewelry that may interfere with the ultrasound procedure.
When ready, the ultrasound technician will apply a small amount of a water-based gel to the transducer head, and gently move it along your abdomen with mild to moderate pressure to capture clear images. Once all necessary images have been captured, you will be able to wipe off the gel and get dressed.
The assessment will be approximately 30 minutes long.
Soon after your appointment, a radiologist will review your images and send a report of your diagnosis to your general practitioner or family physician. Once the report is reviewed, your doctor will contact you with the results.