Ultrasound - abdomen; Abdominal sonogram; Right upper quadrant sonogram
How the Test is Performed
An ultrasound machine makes images of organs and structures inside the body. The machine sends out high-frequency sound waves that reflect off body structures. A computer receives these waves and uses them to create a picture. Unlike with
You will be lying down for the procedure. A clear, water-based conducting gel is applied to the skin over the abdomen. This helps with the transmission of the sound waves. A handheld probe called a transducer is then moved over the abdomen.
You may need to change position so that the health care provider can look at different areas. You may also need to hold your breath for short periods during the exam.
Most of the time, the test takes less than 30 minutes.
How to Prepare for the Test
How you will prepare for the test depends on the problem. You will likely be asked not to eat or drink for several hours before the exam. Your provider will go over what you need to do.
How the Test will Feel
There is little discomfort. The conducting gel may feel a little cold and wet.
Why the Test is Performed
You may have this test to:
- Find the cause of abdominal pain
- Find the cause of kidney infections
- Diagnose and monitor tumors and cancers
- Diagnose or treat
- Learn why there is swelling of an abdominal organ
- Look for damage after an injury
- Look for stones in the gallbladder or kidney
- Look for the cause of abnormal blood tests such as
liver function testsor kidney tests
- Look for the cause of a fever
The reason for the test will depend on your symptoms.
The organs examined appear normal.
What Abnormal Results Mean
The meaning of abnormal results depends on the organ being examined and the type of problem. Talk to your provider if you have any questions or concerns.
An abdominal ultrasound can indicate conditions such as:
Abdominal aortic aneurysm Abscess Appendicitis Cholecystitis Gallstones Hydronephrosis Kidney stones
- Pancreatitis (inflammation in pancreas)
- Spleen enlargement (
- Portal hypertension
- Liver tumors
- Obstruction of bile ducts
There is no known risk. You are not exposed to ionizing radiation.
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Cosgrove DO, Eckersley RJ, Harvey CJ, Lim A. Ultrasound. In: Adam A, Dixon AK, Gillard JH, Schaefer-Prokop CM, eds. Grainger & Allison's Diagnostic Radiology. 6th ed. New York, NY: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2015:chap 3.
Kimberly HH, Stone MB. Emergency ultrasound. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap e5.
Kim DH, Pickhardt PJ. Diagnostic imaging procedures in gastroenterology. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 133.
Wilson SR. The gastrointestinal tract. In: Rumack CM, Levine D, eds. Diagnostic Ultrasound. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 8.
Review Date: 06/25/2018
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