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Intestinal Ultrasound Clinic

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(415) 502-4444

The UCSF Intestinal Ultrasound Clinic provides its imaging services to patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a category that includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, as well as to patients with symptoms that may indicate IBD.

In an ultrasound exam, sound waves are beamed into the body to generate images. Using ultrasound to examine the large and small intestine is a new application of the technology, and UCSF is one of the few hospitals in the nation offering this innovative method to monitor patients with IBD. The images allow doctors to see how a patient is responding to new drugs or other changes in treatment; assess how the bowel is healing after surgery; and scan for disease complications, such as an abscess or fistula.

Performed in the clinic by a gastroenterologist who specializes in IBD, the ultrasound exam typically takes 10 to 25 minutes. Patients are informed of the findings in real time. Ultrasound has several advantages over traditional IBD monitoring methods. An ultrasound can be scheduled more quickly than a colonoscopy or MRI, and no preparation is required – no fasting, sedation, laxatives or use of contrast dye.

However, you should understand that an intestinal ultrasound exam can't take the place of cancer screenings (such as colonoscopy or stool-based testing) because it doesn't detect small lesions. Some people with IBD are at increased risk of colon cancer.

To be seen at this clinic, patients must be referred by a UCSF provider.

Doctor referral required

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    Related clinics

    Gastroenterology at Mount Zion

    1701 Divisadero St., Suite 120
    San Francisco, CA 94115

    Colitis and Crohn's Disease Center

    1701 Divisadero St., Suite 120
    San Francisco, CA 94115

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