Abdominal ultrasound is used to examine organs in the abdomen including the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, and kidneys. The blood vessels that lead to some of these organs can also be looked at with ultrasound.
Preparation for an Abdominal Ultrasound
Patients must go without food and drink for six hours prior to an abdominal study. Necessary medications may be taken with a small amount of water only.
How the test is performed
You will be lying down for the procedure. A clear, water-based conducting gel is applied to the skin over the abdomen. This helps with the transmission of the sound waves and to allow for smooth movement of the transducer over the skin and to eliminate air between the skin and the transducer for the best sound conduction.
A handheld probe called a transducer is then moved over the abdomen until the internal structures have been examined and the desired images captured.
You may need to change position so that the doctor can look at different areas. You may also need to hold your breath for short periods during the exam.
What will I experience during the procedure?
There is usually no discomfort from pressure as the transducer is pressed against the area being examined. Once the imaging is complete, the clear ultrasound gel will be wiped off your skin. Any portions that are not wiped off will dry to a powder. The ultrasound gel does not stain or discolour clothing.
How long does the procedure take?
The procedure will take 15-20 minutes and you can resume normal activities immediately following your scan.
When will I get my results?
Within 2hrs of having your examination the results will be faxed to your doctor followed by a copy in the post.
Reasons for having an abdominal ultrasound include
- Look for the cause of abdominal pain.
- Look for the cause of kidney infections
- Diagnose a hernia
- Diagnose and monitor tumors and cancers
- Look for fluid
- Learn why there is swelling of an abdominal organ
- Look for stones in the gallbladder or kidney
- Look for the cause of abnormal blood tests such as liver function tests or kidney tests
- Look for the cause of a fever
The reason for the test will depend on your individual symptoms.