Ultrasonography has become a very useful tool for evaluating abdominal organs. The strong basics and brevity of the ultrasonographic technique have resulted in the widespread use of this technique in investigating abdominal disease.
Ultrasonography has many technical indications and warnings, but some ultrasound findings are often present in benign and malignant pathologies. As with any study, ultrasound can be performed safely and reliably only when the technician has received appropriate training and understands the method’s limitations.
This article deals with some common abdominal ultrasound questions from theoretical and practical points of view.
Why is this Test Used?
Abdominal ultrasound is a painless test which uses various sound waves to create images of the abdomen.
The doctor may recommend an abdominal ultrasound if you have symptoms such as:
- Abdominal pain.
- Difficulty breathing.
- Pelvic pain.
- Bleeding from the vagina or rectum (hemorrhoids).
- Infections of the urinary bladder, kidneys, or prostate gland (prostatitis).
- Abnormal blood in your urine (hematuria).
What are the Benefits of an Abdominal Ultrasound?
An abdominal ultrasound (also called a sonogram) uses several high-frequency sound waves to create images of organs and tissues in the abdomen. The test evaluates problems with the liver, spleen, kidneys, and other abdominal structures. It can also diagnose pregnancy complications and determine fetal position during pregnancy.
The Benefits of an Abdominal Ultrasound
An abdominal ultrasound can help your doctor:
- Diagnose problems with your liver, spleen, kidneys, and other abdominal structures.
- Evaluate an enlarged liver (hepatomegaly) or spleen (splenomegaly).
- Determine whether fluid buildup in the abdomen (ascites) is due to cancer or another cause.
- Determine if you have gallstones in your gallbladder or bile ducts.
- Detects abnormal liver or pancreas growth that may be cancerous (hepatocellular carcinoma).
Are there any Risks Associated With this Test?
An Ultrasound is a painless, noninvasive medical test that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. The test is used to detect tumors, assess blood flow and monitor fluid buildup (ascites), among other things.
Ultrasound can be performed by a radiologist or an obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN) in the hospital or an outpatient center. It’s usually safe for most adults and children, with only rare side effects.
However, there are some risks associated with ultrasound. Some of these risks are related to the procedure, such as:
- Infection at the site where an intravenous line was inserted (this happens most often in newborns undergoing screening for congenital heart disease).
- Bleeding from cuts made during surgery (this occurs when fetal surgery is done).
How to Prepare for an Abdominal Ultrasound?
The doctor will ask you to remove any jewelry or other objects in your mouth and to empty your bladder. You might be given a gown to wear.
The technician may apply a small amount of gel on your skin, which is then covered with a small piece of paper. The transducer is then moved over the area being examined. You won’t feel anything during the exam.
During the exam, if you have discomfort or pain, tell the doctor or technician. If you have an abdominal ultrasound to evaluate kidney stones, tell the doctor if you have had any recent painful urination or blood in your urine.
What Happens During an Abdominal Ultrasound?
An abdominal ultrasound takes about 20 to 40 minutes, depending on the imaged area.
The doctor will apply a gel to your abdomen and move the ultrasound probe over your skin. You may feel pressure as the probe slides across your skin. This can be uncomfortable if you have an inflamed appendix or other condition that makes it painful to lie on your abdomen. In this case, your doctor may do the exam while you’re sitting up instead of lying down.
The doctor will then place the probe inside your body and move it around until they find an organ they want to look at more closely. Some doctors use a tiny camera called an endoscope through their scope (duplex scanning) when looking for problems in the small bowel or large intestine (colon).
What Happens After Your Abdominal Ultrasound?
After your abdominal ultrasound, you will be asked to wait for the radiologist to review the images. You may be able to leave the imaging center or facility immediately if your doctor has already reviewed them before you arrive at the imaging center.
The radiologist will then send a report to your doctor. The report will include information about any abnormalities found during the exam, as well as recommendations for follow-up care.
If you have questions about your results or treatment plan, talk with your doctor before leaving the imaging center or facility.
When will the Results be Ready?
If you’ve been referred to a specialist, they will usually give you an appointment time within one month. If they are busy, they may ask you to call back in a week or two.
If it’s not urgent and you don’t have private health insurance, it’s possible that you will have to wait longer than this (up to six months).
The results of your ultrasound scan will be ready when your doctor examines them. Your doctor will either send the report directly to you or discuss the findings with you during a consultation visit.
Abdominal ultrasound for medical diagnosis is a very common method. It is used to evaluate the overall condition of your abdominal organs like the kidneys, the spleen, and the liver. An abdominal ultrasound can be performed to diagnose a number of other problems as well. You would usually require an abdominal ultrasound if you are suffering from acute abdomen, ulcers in the stomach, inflammations in the lungs, and a few other diseases as well.
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