What Is an Abdominal Ultrasound?
This non-invasive imaging test examines the organs and tissues within your abdomen. The images produced by an abdominal ultrasound guide your internist toward the correct diagnosis of a wide range of abdominal conditions. The organs exposed by an abdominal ultrasound include your:
- Bile ducts
- Abdominal blood vessels, such as the inferior vena cava and the aorta
An ultrasound device sends high-frequency sound waves through a hand-held probe called a transducer. When a sonographer places the transducer on your stomach, the ultrasound waves penetrate your abdomen and bounce off the organs. The reflected sound waves produce a live image on a monitor. At the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Queens, NY, your doctor uses this innovative medical technology as a diagnostic test to gather comprehensive information.
When Do I Need an Abdominal Ultrasound?
Your doctor may order this imaging test to get clarity about any underlying issues that could be behind specific symptoms. Some conditions that may require an abdominal ultrasound include:
- Blood clotting
- Abdominal pain
- GERD or heartburn
- Kidney blockage
- Stones in your kidneys or gall bladder
- Distended organs, including the liver, spleen or kidneys
- Abdominal masses, such as tumors, cysts or abscesses
- Fatty liver disease
- Abdominal aortic aneurysm
- An inflamed pancreas
- Pyloric stenosis, a condition that narrows the lower part of your stomach
- Cholecystitis or gallbladder inflammation
- Suspected cancer
An abdominal ultrasound is a versatile diagnostic test that can reveal quite a bit about the condition of your internal organs, including the signs of any disorders. At the multi-specialty Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center, a team of technicians take care of you when you undergo the test. The state-of-the-art facility boasts a patient-centered approach that puts your comfort and well-being at the top of the priority list.
How Do I Prepare for an Abdominal Ultrasound?
During your initial consultation, your internist or primary care physician explains the reasons to perform the ultrasound and what it may show. Before your test, the doctor advises you on how to prepare for the ultrasound. Some of the things you need to do include:
- Don’t eat or drink for eight to 12 hours before your test. Any undigested food in your abdomen or urine in your bladder can block the sound waves, blurring the resulting images.
- If you take any medications, you can continue to take them, but try to use as little water as possible.
- Wear loose-fitting garments or bring a simple change of clothes before the ultrasound.
- If you experience any discomfort before the ultrasound, consult your doctor for advice.
Make sure you arrive on time for your test. You may be asked to change to a hospital gown to allow for easy probing. Your doctor or a sonographer guides you through the steps involved in the test, but it’s usually painless.
What Can I Expect During an Abdominal Ultrasound?
The examination takes place on a couch next to the ultrasound machine. The technician helps you lie comfortably and uncovers your abdomen in preparation. During the test, you can expect a series of steps, including:
- The sonographer applies a cold lubricating jelly on your abdomen. The conductive gel helps the ultrasound device deliver clearer images.
- Sliding the hand-held transducer over your abdomen, the sonographer looks for a clear image of the target area or organ. During this time, the probe sends high-frequency waves into your body. You feel no discomfort or tingling.
- The sound waves reflect off your abdominal organs and other internal structures. The ultrasound machine creates images from these reflections on a computer screen. The computer stores these images automatically.
- Once the test is complete, the sonographer wipes off the gel and lets you clean up and dress.
- You can return to your normal activities right away. You’re under no limitations while you await the results from your doctor.
- The images from the ultrasound machine are sent to a radiologist, who interprets them. The radiologist sends a report to your doctor, who uses the information to diagnose your condition.
Your abdomen houses vital organs, but abdominal problems — the reason behind any abdominal pain — can be difficult to identify. Failure to diagnose and treat abdominal issues can lead to a host of more devastating complications. An abdominal ultrasound is a quick and painless way for your doctor to see the abnormalities within your mid-section.
The team at the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Queens focuses on preventative and diagnostic procedures, since your treatment is only as good as your diagnosis. Specialists from various departments work together to provide your doctor with the information needed to make a correct diagnosis and begin early treatment. Contact the diagnostic clinic today.