Abdominal ultrasound is a safe, noninvasive, and versatile screening tool that does not use radiation. It plays a pivotal role in evaluating abdominal disease. There are no contraindications.
What is an abdominal ultrasound?
An abdominal ultrasound, also known as a sonogram or abdominal sonography, is an imaging test that uses high-frequency sound waves to look at organs in the abdomen, including the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, and kidneys. The abdominal ultrasound can also view the inferior vena cava which is the largest vein in the body below the diaphragm that carries oxygen to the heart from the lower body, and the abdomen aorta, the largest artery in the body that supplies blood to the lower body.
An ultrasound machine makes images of organs and structures. The machine sends out high-frequency sound waves that bounce off of body structures and a computer receives the waves and turn them into an image.
You may be asked to refrain from eating for several hours before the procedure. Then you will put on a gown and lie down. A clear- water based gel is applied to the abdomen to help transmit the sound waves. The machine produces the images for the gastroenterologist. The only discomfort is cold conducting gel. There is no recovery.
This type of ultrasound exam can help diagnose a variety of conditions within the abdominal area including gallstones, kidney stones, cysts, and tumors. It is also used to help diagnose the cause of abdominal pain or discomfort. The images produced by an abdominal ultrasound can provide important information that helps your doctor decide on a course of treatment.
Abdominal ultrasounds are usually performed with a transducer, which is a device that emits sound waves and receives echoes returning from various structures inside your body. The echoes create a picture that can be viewed on a monitor. A doctor or technician will move the transducer over your abdomen and take several images of different structures within the abdominal area.
The reason for the test is symptoms such as abdominal pain or enlarged organ. It can also be used to monitor the progress of a condition over time and detect any changes in size or shape of organs.
An abdominal ultrasound may be recommended to
- to find the cause of abdominal pain
- to find the cause of kidney infections
- to diagnose and monitor tumors and cancers
- to diagnose and treat ascites – the accumulation of fluid in the space between the lining of the abdomen and the abdominal organs caused by severe liver damage
- to determine why an organ is swollen
- to look for gallstones or kidney stones
- to find a cause for abnormal liver or kidney blood tests
- to look for the cause of a fever
The results of an abdominal ultrasound can indicate:
- an abdominal aortic aneurysm
- an abscess
- gallbladder disease and gallstones
- kidney stones
- pancreatitis- inflammation of the pancreas
- spleen enlargement
- liver tumors
- cirrhosis of the live
- kidney disorders
- structural defects of the organs and blood vessels
It is important to note that an abdominal ultrasound may not always provide enough information to make a definitive diagnosis. When results are abnormal, additional tests may need to be done to confirm the results of an abdominal ultrasound. Additional testing may include CT scans, X-rays, and MRIs.
At Gastroenterology Associates of Brooklyn we offer a full range of treatments to correct any abnormalities found in diagnostic tests. These include medication, surgery, physical therapy, lifestyle modifications such as weight loss and diet changes, and other interventions tailored to each individual case. Our team of experienced doctors and Physician Assistants is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care and the best possible outcomes for our patients.
We understand that a diagnosis of an abnormality on abdominal imaging can be unnerving, so we will take the time to explain your results in detail, answer any questions you may have, and provide support and guidance throughout the entire treatment process. Our goal is to help each patient achieve their best possible health outcomes.
Contact us to schedule a consultation when you or a loved one has abdominal pain and other symptoms that just don’t seem to resolve no matter what you do. We can help.