Abdominal sonography is a useful way of examining internal organs, such as the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys, spleen and urinary bladder by sending high frequency sound waves into the body. The reflected sound waves are returned as echoes which are then recorded and displayed as real-time visual image. Abdominal sonography is a non-invasive imaging test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions.
An abdominal ultrasound can help to diagnose a variety of conditions and to assess damage caused by illness. Patients are referred for abdominal ultrasound for various reasons, some of which are abdominal pain and enlarged abdominal organs. It is also used to image small parts such as thyroid gland, testicles, breast and various other soft tissue body parts. Doctors can also use abdominal sonography to guide them as they perform needle biopsies on abdominal organs.
Abdominal sonography is used to investigate the abdomen for a number of reasons including abdominal pain, abdominal swelling, to detect causes of fever, serial follow up of unknown abnormalities in the abdomen, such as gallstones, liver cirrhosis, cyst, benign tumor etc. It is also used to examine blood flow, to discover blockage and/or atherosclerotic plaque, blood clot in the arteries and veins of the abdomen and to guide invasive procedures such as needle biopsy and withdrawal of fluid.
Abdominal sonography is safe, painless, easy, fast, and widely available. One advantage using ultrasound to image the abdomen over other imaging techniques is that there is no radiation. It can be used to guide invasive procedures such as biopsy, and to visualize bowel movement and blood flow. In case of an emergency, bedside sonography can be done without particular patient preparations.
Doppler ultrasound is a special ultrasound technique that evaluates blood flow through a blood vessel, including the body’s major arteries and veins in the abdomen, arms, legs, neck and head. Portable ultrasound machines are widely used to perform bedside abdominal ultrasound in case of emergency.