When a patient complains of abdominal pain, there are several areas within the abdominal cavity that could be causing the discomfort. A doctor will order an abdominal ultrasound to determine the issue that’s occurring in the abdominal cavity. An abdominal ultrasound allows the doctor to view the liver, pancreas, kidney, spleen, and gallbladder.
An abdominal ultrasound is also useful for the examination of the vena cava and aorta. The vena cava carries deoxygenated blood into the heart; and the aorta is the body’s largest and most important artery, as it supplies oxygenated blood into the circulatory system.
What Is an Ultrasound?
An ultrasound is an imaging scan in which sound waves are transferred into the body by a transducer, which is a special device that is used by a sonographer to gather images of the affected area. The skin in the area is moistened, the transducer is manually glided over the area, and sound waves are sent into the body where they’re bounced off structures inside – creating echoes that are then converted into images.
Those images are instantly projected onto a computer screen, video-style, where the sonographer makes specific notes about questionable areas and takes screen shots. The doctor will then review the images from the abdominal ultrasound for evaluation and treatment.
What Can an Abdominal Ultrasound Find?
An abdominal ultrasound may be used to confirm or to rule out many conditions, including the following:
Kidney stones are relatively common and are extremely painful. It is important that doctors accurately diagnose the origin of the abdominal pain, since similar pain in the same area could also be attributed to appendicitis, an ovarian cyst, or diverticulitis.
Images gathered by the abdominal ultrasound will either confirm or rule out kidney stones. However, kidney stones may not be visible unless they are located where the ureter and bladder meet. But even if the stones aren’t visible, other signs/effects left from the kidney stones can be viewed and thus diagnosed.
For instance, there may be a noticeable difference in the flow of urine from the ureters. There should be two sprays, because there are two ureters that take urine from the two kidneys to the bladder. If there is only one spray, or if one of the sprays is significantly slower than the other, then there is an obstruction that needs to be addressed.
Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm
Any kind of aneurysm is very dangerous. An aneurysm is when the walls of a blood vessel bulge outward, and the danger is that it can burst and cause internal bleeding, which can lead to death.
An abdominal aortic aneurysm occurs when plaque builds up along the walls of the abdominal aorta. The plaque can become thicker over time, thereby weakening the abdominal aorta. This can eventually bulge outward in a balloon-like fashion to form an aneurysm.
The doctor will determine a course of treatment following the abdominal scan. Treatment depends on the size and location of the aneurysm. The doctor will also take the patient’s age into consideration plus additional health conditions affecting the patient.
If the scan indicates that the diameter of the aneurysm is less than 5 centimeters, then the doctor may decide to simply monitor it. The patient will likely undergo an abdominal ultrasound once a year.
This occurs when the stomach area is abnormally swollen beyond what is natural for the patient’s frame. This isn’t to be confused with weight gain.
An accumulation of substances within the abdomen causes the abnormal expansion. It may appear as if the stomach is swelling, but it is actually the abdomen that becomes distended. This can be caused by an accumulation of fluid, gas, or even gallstones.
A doctor will utilize an abdominal ultrasound to rule out serious conditions, like cirrhosis of the liver and tumors that could be cancerous.
Diagnostic Imaging Centers in South Florida
Abdominal ultrasound is a wonderful tool for diagnosing many conditions and diseases. If you or your health care provider has concerns regarding symptoms you’ve been experiencing, and images are warranted, then Independent Imaging is prepared to conduct your noninvasive procedure.
Call us today at (561) 795-5558 for more information or to request an appointment, or fill out our simple appointment request form now. We’re here to provide a comfortable, accurate screening to help foster optimum health for you.