What is a whole abdomen ultrasound?
A whole abdomen ultrasound is an imaging test. It is used to check on the organs within the abdomen. This includes the pancreas, liver, kidneys, gallbladder, bile duct, and spleen.
It is a non-invasive procedure and is entirely painless. It uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the organs.
Whole abdomen ultrasound is used to diagnose or rule out many health issues related to the organs located in the abdomen. It is a quick procedure that gives clarity by providing accurate results.
What does whole abdomen ultrasound detect?
Whole abdomen ultrasound assesses the flow of blood to the organs present in the abdomen. Your doctor is likely to recommend this to you in case you experience stomach pain or bloating. It also helps to locate any cysts that may grow in your abdomen.
It is also a good way of analysing issues with the kidneys. The diagnosis of kidney stones or infections can be done through whole abdomen ultrasound.
It also monitors tumors that may be cancerous. Early detection of tumors can be life-saving and can make the treatment easier.
It gives the doctors a better perspective to treat any liver disease, pancreatitis, or spleen enlargement as well.
Whole abdomen ultrasound also proves helpful in checking the abdominal aorta. Any problem with the same can cause an aneurysm. For men who smoke, a one-time abdominal aorta test is recommended. This is, however, when they reach the age bracket of 65 to 75 years. It is not necessary for women.
Apart from this, it checks for inflammation of any organ. It ensures that all parts of the abdomen are receiving the right amount of blood. Any pain or discomfort is also addressed.
How does it work?
Like any other ultrasound, the whole abdomen ultrasound is a fairly straightforward procedure. A hand-held device known as a transducer is used for this purpose. It sends out high-frequency sound waves that reflect after hitting any structure. This way, an echo is created. This echo is recorded to project an image of the organs.
A get is spread across the abdomen after you lay down. Then, the doctor moves the transducer across the area. It is a painless process and does not require much from the patients’ end. Unlike X-rays and CT scans, it does not expose the patient to any radiation.
The test usually takes about thirty to forty minutes. Once completed, the gel is wiped off and you can cover your exposed abdomen. The results come in the form of images and graphs, through which you can achieve a proper diagnosis. It also helps in navigating around the body for proper treatment and keeping a track of the progress made.
How to prepare for the test?
There are certain guidelines that you must follow before undergoing a whole abdomen ultrasound. For starters, your doctor would ask you to fast for at least 12 hours before the test. This is done in order to avoid blocking the sound waves through undigested food. The same goes for urine, so your fast may include no fluids as well. However, fasting is not necessary. It depends entirely on what area of the abdomen is being tested. So do consult your doctor for all the required preparation.
Some general instructions include not wearing any jewellery for the whole abdomen ultrasound as you may have to remove it. Also, wear loose clothing that enables you to uncover your abdomen easily.
What may affect the results?
A clear image can accurately be obtained via a whole abdomen ultrasound. However, certain conditions may skew these results. Severe obesity and intestinal gas are some examples. Apart from this, the presence of barium in the intestine can pose an issue. This can be leftover from other tests that are undertaken to gain a better understanding of the stomach and gastrointestinal part. Doctors must ensure that the test is conducted in such a way that keeps away all avoidable hindrances.
Overall, it is a routine and straightforward procedure. It does not involve any discomfort for the patient. It is an excellent alternative to many other invasive tests.
It is a step forward to getting a proper diagnosis. After a whole abdomen ultrasound, your doctor shall discuss your results with you and formulate a plan for your fast and complete recovery.