Overview & Description
Abdominal ultrasound is a technique that uses high-frequency
sound waves, or ultrasounds, to examine soft tissues such as the abdominal
organs. This test can provide information about the liver, gallbladder,
spleen, pancreas, kidneys, ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and urinary
bladder. It can detect some abdominal masses. An abdominal ultrasound can also be used to view blood flow to the
Who is a candidate for the test?
An abdominal ultrasound may be done for a number of reasons, including the
to determine the cause of an enlarged organ
to determine the source of bleeding
to identify abnormalities in a woman's ovaries, fallopian tubes, or
to identify causes for
to locate the source of abdominal
to look for stones in organs, such as the gallbladder or kidney
In some cases, an abdominal ultrasound is used to
diagnose or monitor a woman's pregnancy. This procedure is known as a
How is the test performed?
A liquid gel is applied to the person's abdomen to help transmit sounds. A
transducer, which is like a microphone, is placed on the abdomen. The
transducer is connected to a computer that converts
the signals into images. A Doppler ultrasound may also be used to check
movement in organs, such as blood flowing through blood vessels.
Preparation & Expectations
What is involved in preparation for the test?
Depending on the reason for the abdominal ultrasound, some
preparation may be required. The individual may be told to avoid eating for
several hours before the test. He or she may be asked to drink liquid to ensure that the
bladder is full. The healthcare provider should be asked for specific
Results and Values
What do the test results mean?
Abnormal results, such as a mass or stones, may need further testing or surgery. The healthcare provider will discuss results with the individual.