Ultrasound - Abdominal

Ultrasound - Abdominal

What is an Abdominal Ultrasound?

Ultrasound is a diagnostic procedure that uses sound waves to produce an image. Ultrasound uses painless, silent, high frequency sound waves transmitted and reflected through various body parts.  The study can help diagnose medical conditions, such as cancer, gallbladder disease and gallstones and check for problems in the liver, kidneys, pancreas or spleen.

Patient Prep

Before the exam, the patient must not eat or drink for eight hours before the appointment time.

What to expect

You will be asked to change into a hospital gown. You will lie down on a bed or stretcher. A colorless, odorless gel will be applied to your skin so that the sound waves will be easily transmitted.   A transducer that produces the sound waves is placed against the body and is slowly passed over the abdomen. The technologist will slowly move the transducer around the abdomen as the images are displayed on a monitor.   There is no pain and only mild pressure from the transducer.  Depending on the exam, the patient may be required to lie still, change positions, hold their breath or just breath normally.  Sound waves pass harmlessly through the skin from the transducer and bounce off certain organs and tissue in the body.  This creates echoes, which reflect back to the transducer.  A television monitor shows images as the transducer converts the echoles to electrical signals.  These moving images may be viewed immediately, recorded or photographed for review by the radiologist.

Who reads my films?

Radiologists are physicians who specialize in performing and reading the radiology procedures. They are board certified and have completed several years of advanced training and appropriate certification after completing their medical degrees. The Ultrasound Technologists are registered health care professionals with specialized training in ultrasound procedures.

After your exam

The procedure takes approximately 45 minutes.  After the study you may drive yourself home.  The results of your exam will be sent to the physician who ordered the test.


For any questions or concerns:

Contact the Radiology and Medical Imaging department at 434-924-9400.