What is an abdominal ultrasound | Diseases and conditions: Medical tests.

Abdominal ultrasound

Abdominal ultrasound is a diagnostic test which, through the use of ultrasound waves, allows to observe organs and structures that are found within the abdominal cavity. In addition, it allows simultaneously interventions as drainage of abscesses or shots of biopsies, since it makes it possible to direct punctures to the precise areas of safely. You can also examine the flow within blood vessels through a special ultrasound called ultrasound-doppler.
The device that serves to make ultrasound is called ultrasound and emits ultrasound waves that are not detectable by the human ear. These waves are introduced into the body through a tube called a transducer, which moves over the body that we want to study. The waves are transmitted inside the body and bouncing create waves that differ according to the density of the fabric through, e.g. different fluids, bone or fat. These waves are picked up by the transducer and, through a computer generated images of the body that we are studying.
Abdominal ultrasound allows to observe the abdominal organs such as the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, kidneys and bladder. It also allows to see the abdominal aorta and detect the presence of fluid between the various bodies. In women it allows to see the ovaries and uterus, and men the prostate; However, these organs are best performing an ultrasound vaginal in women or by transrectal via in men.

When should I do an abdominal ultrasound?

The most common reasons why the realization of an abdominal ultrasound may be requested are as follows:
In cases of abdominal pain, suspected disease of the bile as a biliary lithiasis or an infection of the gallbladder (cholecystitis).
To rule out the presence of liver cancer, for example in patients with chronic hepatitis.
In the study of the pathology of the kidney, renal lithiasis, kidney infections (pyelonephritis), or kidney cancer.
In the study of pathology of the pancreas, such as pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer. However, sometimes the pancreas does not on ultrasound, it is an organ that is very deep. Therefore, for their study is preferred often the realization of a computed tomography (CT).
Suspected appendicitis when a TAC is not possible.
To study the presence of narrowness or abdominal aortic aneurysms.
For the study of pathology of the uterus or ovaries, or to follow the fetus in pregnant women.
To guide the needle in the puncture or to perform a liver or kidney biopsy.
To drain abscesses located in some organ of the abdomen, especially in the liver.

Preparation for the ultrasound of the abdomen

If they go to an abdominal ultrasound done to you these are the issues that you must provide in advance:
Duration: the test is performed in about 15 minutes. If you perform an intervention as an outlet of biopsies or drainage of an abscess can last more.
Entry: the abdominal ultrasound can be done on an outpatient basis.
Is necessary to be accompanied?: don't have to be accompanied by although it might help if it makes you feel more relaxed.
Drugs: is not necessary to take any prior medication.
Food: must be on fasting the 6-8 hours before the test. In case that you will study organs of the pelvis as the uterus or bladder of urine, should drink at least one litre of water in the hour prior to the test to have full bladder. This allows better observe the organs of the pelvis.
Clothing: you can wear any clothes you want, but it should be easy to remove to leave bare abdomen when they require it.
Documents: where the abdominal ultrasound as a guide of an invasive procedure, as taking biopsies or drainage of an abscess, should be informed consent, which is a role where they explain you what is the test and its potential risks. You should read it carefully and take it signed. You must take the wheel of the test request.
Pregnancy and lactation: are not contraindications for testing.

Other considerations

There are no contraindications for the realization of an abdominal ultrasound, because ultrasound waves do not produce any effect in the organism.

Abdominal ultrasound is performed

To perform an abdominal ultrasound you will be asked you lay it face-up on a stretcher and let exposed abdomen. It is not necessary to change clothes. Medical radiologist in a room in semi-darkness will test generally to allow you to better view the images on the screen.
The doctor will put you a gel in the abdomen to increase the driving of the ultrasound waves through the skin. This gel can be rather cold. The doctor will pass transducer by the different parties of the abdomen, which does not usually cause any pain or discomfort, unless your doctor has to press something stronger in any particular area of the abdomen. The passage of ultrasound does not originate any discomfort. It is possible that you have to change something from stance to allow a better visualization of an organ. Where necessary the study of any blood vessel, the doctor will use the technique of the ultrasound-doppler in which you may hear an intermittent beep which corresponds to the blood flow of the studied glass. You will not notice any pain or discomfort.
After completing the test facilitate you a paper to clean any residual gel abdomen. This gel has moisturizing properties so there is no problem to leave it or extend it by the abdomen.
Ultrasound is a very safe test. Ionizing radiation are not used in x-rays or CT. The ultrasound waves do not have any detrimental effect on the body, so the test can be repeated as many times as needed without causing any prejudice. It is extremely rare that gel that is used to improve the driving produces allergy skin. In cases of serious problems of coagulation, the passage of the transducer can cause a hematoma in skin, although this is extremely rare.

Results of an abdominal ultrasound

The images obtained by the ultrasound can see and interpret immediately by the radiologist. However, the doctor often dictate a report that may take a while to be in writing. It should take into account that ultrasound is a dynamic test and interpretation of the images is done on the ultrasound screen. Static images that can be obtained on paper have less diagnostic value.
The results of abdominal ultrasound report will include data on bodies scanned and found finds. The type of discovery can vary greatly depending on the pathology and studied organ. Many times you can find tumors benign or malignant, signs that indicate various infections, including abscesses or inflammation in any organ, malformations or pathology of the biliary tract or urinary tract.
Can be found in relation to vessels that irrigate the various organs or abdominal aorta, thrombus, vascular infarcts (due to the blockage of an artery), aneurysm or bleeding. It is often necessary to repeat the test to see how evolve different injuries, either spontaneously or with treatment.
Abdominal ultrasound has two major limitations. One is the presence of gas in the intestines. The air does not properly transmit ultrasound waves, preventing correct display of the bodies which may be behind the bowel. Obese patients, as the bigger the amount of tissue that have to go through the worst waves of ultrasound are the images obtained.
It is advisable to go to pick up the result and not assume everything is normal because the results you are not delivered in a few weeks. The doctor has asked the test will give you the results and will indicate the need for any treatment or other complementary explorations.
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