What Is an Ultrasound?
Ultrasound imaging, or sonography, is the use of high-frequency sound waves to visualize soft tissues such as internal organs. The images can provide valuable information for diagnosing and treating a variety of diseases and conditions.
What to Expect During an Ultrasound?
During an ultrasound exam, you may need to remove jewelry and some of your clothing, change into a gown, and lie on an examination table. Gel is applied to your skin.
A trained technician (sonographer) presses a small, hand-held device (transducer), about the size of a bar of soap, against your skin over the area being examined, moving it as necessary to capture the image. The transducer sends sound waves into your body, collects sound waves that bounce back and sends them to a computer, which creates the images.
Ultrasound is usually painless. However, you may experience mild discomfort as the sonographer guides the transducer over your body, especially if you’re required to have a full bladder.
Preparation for Ultrasound?
Depending on the location of the ultrasound, you may be asked to fast, not eating or drinking, 6-8 hours prior to your test being performed.
Abdominal Ultrasound Common Uses:
Abdominal ultrasound imaging is performed to evaluate the:
- Abdominal aorta and other blood vessels of the abdomen
Ultrasound is used to help diagnose a variety of conditions, such as:
- Abdominal pain or distention
- Abnormal liver function
- Enlarged abdominal organ
- Stones in the gallbladder or kidney
- An aneurysm in the aorta
When your exam is complete, a physician trained to interpret imaging studies (radiologist) analyzes the images and sends a report to your doctor. Your doctor will share the results with you.
You should be able to return to normal activities immediately after an ultrasound.