Abdominal Ultrasound

What Is An Ultrasound?

Ultrasound is a simple, safe, painless diagnostic procedure that bounces high-frequency sound waves off parts of the body and captures the returning “echoes” as images. There is no injection or radiation exposure associated with ultrasound.

Ultrasound can capture moving images of pelvic and abdominal function, breast abnormalities, the male reproductive system, the kidney and thyroid systems (including gallstones), and fetal development, among other applications.

When enhanced with a special Doppler technique, ultrasound can also capture moving blood images of the heart and large blood vessels.

How Is An Abdominal Ultrasound Performed?

While lying down, a clear conducting gel is applied to the skin over the abdomen. A handheld transducer is then moved over the abdomen. The ultrasound machine will then produce images of the abdomen inside the body by sending out high-frequency sound waves that reflect off of body tissue. The computer will then receive the sound waves and then create a picture.

From time to time your healthcare provider might ask you to adjust your position in order to view other areas of your abdomen. It is also not uncommon to be asked to hold your breath for short periods of time.

How Do I Prepare For An Abdominal Ultrasound?

For an abdominal ultrasound, you will be asked to refrain from eating or drinking anything after midnight. You should contact the radiology department if you are scheduled late in the afternoon or are diabetic.