An abdominal ultrasound is a form of medical imaging used to evaluate the size, shape, blood flow, and density of abdominal organs. Ultrasound cannot penetrate bone or air but does allow for evaluation of most of the soft tissue structures in the abdomen. This means that ultrasound can show abnormalities or changes within the abdominal organs such as masses, change in organ density, or changes in organ shape. Abdominal ultrasound can help aid in the diagnosis of ailments such as pancreatitis, gall bladder disease, liver disease, and much more.
It is preferred that patients remain fasted for abdominal ultrasound examination unless they have a condition such as diabetes. We recommend fasting so the stomach remains small and does not obscure the viewing of organs that lie under the stomach such as the liver.
An abdominal ultrasound is not painful and usually does not require sedation. In most patients, the hair on the abdomen will need to be clipped over the area that will be evaluated for image quality purposes.