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Abdominal/Retroperitoneal Ultrasound

An Abdominal Ultrasound produces a picture of the organs and other structures in the upper abdomen, encompassing the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, aorta, both kidneys and the bladder, through the use of high frequency sound waves that are displayed in a real time image.

Your doctor may recommend an Abdominal Ultrasound to help diagnose conditions such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Abnormal liver function
  • An enlarged abdominal organ
  • Stones in the gallbladder or kidney
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Aneurysm in the aorta

You will be asked to lie on a comfortable table while the technologist performs the examination. A hand held device called an Ultrasound probe will be moved over the surface of your skin in the area of interest after a liquid gel is placed on the probe and/or your skin. The Ultrasound machine uses sound waves to obtain medical images of various organs and tissues in the body. It is a painless and safe procedure with a typical duration of 60 minutes.

Tell your doctor if you have had a barium enema or a series of upper GI (gastrointestinal) tests within the past two days. Barium that remains in the intestines can interfere with the ultrasound test. Other preparations depend on the reason for the abdominal ultrasound test you are having. For ultrasound of the liver, gallbladder, spleen, and pancreas, you may be asked to eat a fat-free meal on the evening before the test and then to avoid eating for 8 to 12 hours before the test.

For ultrasound of the kidneys, you may not need any special preparation. You may be asked to drink 4 to 6 glasses of liquid (usually juice or water) about an hour before the test to fill your bladder. You may be asked to avoid eating for 8 to 12 hours before the test to avoid gas buildup in the intestines. Gas could interfere with the evaluation of the kidneys, which lay behind the stomach and intestines. For ultrasound of the aorta, you may need to avoid eating for 8 to 12 hours before the test.

For Physicians

One of the most widely used diagnostic tools in modern medicine.

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