Abdominal ultrasound is an imaging test done to view the internal structures and blood circulation in the abdomen. This imaging test is a valuable way of evaluating organs, tissues, blood vessels and other structures within the abdomen. It is a preferred screening test to diagnose an abdominal aortic aneurysm, a weakened, bulging area in the abdominal aorta, the main blood vessel that supplies blood to the body.
Generally, ultrasound imaging involves sending high-frequency sound waves into the body, where these waves reflect off organs and other structures inside the body. A receiver machine then takes up these response signals and create images by analysing the data.
Why It's Done?
An abdominal ultrasound can help the health care provider to evaluate vital organs in the abdomen, such as tissues, blood vessels and abnormal growths. Usually, the doctor may recommend this test if you have an issue in any of these body regions:
Blood vessels in the abdomen
Large and small intestines
Furthermore, an abdominal ultrasound can also help the healthcare provider to examine the cause of stomach pain or bloating, kidney stones, liver disease, tumours and many other health disorders. The abdomen comprises many vital body parts, several problems can develop ranging from inflammation to abnormal hormonal responses and it also indicates the presence of another health disorder.
Doctors suggest an abdominal ultrasound to screen for an abdominal aortic aneurysm in men in the age group 65-75, who are chronic smokers. This test also help doctors to rule out any issues in the abdomen such as appendicitis or kidney stones, gall stones, inflammatory conditions such as pancreatitis or appendicitis, abdominal tumours, pyloric stenosis, hernia and cancer.
How To Prepare?
The person should generally need to avoid food and drinks and be in a fasting state for 8-12 hours before an abdominal ultrasound. Any foods and fluids in the stomach and urine in the bladder can make it hard for the technician to get a clear picture of the images in the abdomen. But can continue to take regular medicines.
What To Expect?
Before the procedure, the patient may be asked to change into a hospital gown and remove any jewellery.
A sonographer usually does the abdominal ultrasound, the technician applies a small amount of gel to the abdomen, where the gel works with an ultrasound device called a transducer to provide clear and better images. The sonographer gently presses the transducer against the stomach moving it back and forth. The machine sends signals to a computer and produces images that depicts how blood flows via the structures in the abdomen.
A typical ultrasound abdomen test takes about 30 minutes to complete. It is painless, however, a person may have some temporary discomfort if the technician applies pressure on regions that is sore or tender.
After the procedure, the person can resume normal activities immediately.
After the test, the doctor will discuss with the patient the results, if no aneurysm or other abnormal changes are not found, then the doctor would not suggest any further screenings. If an aneurysm or another issues is found, then the doctor will decide on a treatment plan, which may include additional screening or surgery. It is a safe procedure and the risk of complications or any adverse effects is very minimal when compared to other types of medical imaging. This method provides a quick way to examine the abdomen structures that can help the doctor in diagnosing or monitoring health problems.