An abdominal ultrasound is a non-invasive medical test that uses sound waves to produce images of the inside of the abdomen. This test is conveniently performed in-office at Digestive & Liver Health Specialists. Abdominal ultrasound is commonly used to evaluate the organs and structures within the abdomen, including the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, and kidneys. It can also be used to assess the abdominal aorta, which is the major blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body.
During the test, a technician will apply a small amount of gel to your abdomen and then move a device called a transducer over your skin. The transducer sends out high-frequency sound waves that bounce off the organs and tissues in your abdomen, and a computer translates these echoes into detailed images on a screen.
The test is usually painless and takes about 30 to 60 minutes to complete. You may be asked to hold your breath at certain points during the exam to get the best images.
Your provider at Digestive & Liver Health Specialists may recommend an abdominal ultrasound if you are experiencing symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloating, or changes in bowel habits, or if you have a family history of certain conditions that affect the abdominal organs. The test can help your doctor diagnose problems such as gallstones, kidney stones, liver disease, and pancreatitis, as well as assess the size and shape of the organs and detect any abnormal growths or masses.
It is important to follow any instructions your doctor gives you before the test, such as fasting for a certain period of time or avoiding certain medications. You may also be asked to wear a gown during the exam.
Frequently asked questions about abdominal ultrasound:
Q: Is an abdominal ultrasound painful?
A: No, the test is generally not painful. You may feel slight pressure from the transducer as it is moved over your skin, but this should not be painful.
Q: Do I need to prepare for an abdominal ultrasound?
A: Your provider at Digestive & Liver Health Specialists may give you specific instructions on how to prepare for the test. This may include fasting for a certain period of time before the exam, avoiding certain medications, or drinking plenty of fluids. It is important to follow these instructions to ensure that the test is as accurate as possible.
Q: Can I eat or drink before an abdominal ultrasound?
A: You may be asked to fast for a certain period of time before the test, depending on your specific circumstances. Your doctor will provide you with specific instructions on what you should and should not do before the exam.
Q: How long does an abdominal ultrasound take?
A: The test typically takes about 30 to 60 minutes to complete.
Q: What will I need to do during the test?
A: During the test, you will be asked to lie on your back on an examination table. The technician will apply a small amount of gel to your abdomen and then move the transducer over your skin. You may be asked to hold your breath at certain points during the exam to get the best images.