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Ultrasound » Abdomen
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Download PDF Patient BrochureWhat is an ultrasound of the abdomen?
Ultrasound (also called sonography) is an imaging exam that uses sound waves instead of x-rays or radiation to produce images of the internal organs and tissues of your body. It also enables your Radiologist to visualize blood flow through major vessels to see and evaluate blockages, plaque, or clots. During an ultrasound exam, sound waves bounce off organs and tissues like an echo to create pictures or images. These images can be viewed in "real time" on an attached computer monitor by your Technologist. "Snapshots" of the images are captured for your Radiologist to review and interpret.

An ultrasound of the abdomen is useful for evaluating the health of your spleen, kidneys, bladder, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen and abdominal aorta. Medical conditions such as gallbladder or kidney stones, and blood vessel blockages or clots can be diagnosed. Your physician may also order an ultrasound if you are having abdominal pain, or there is a need to identify the cause for an enlarged abdominal organ.

How should I prepare for my exam?
  • Do not eat or drink at all after midnight. (You will need to fast 8 hours before your exam.)
  • You will be asked to change into a loose-fitting gown

What will the exam be like?
You will be asked to lie on the exam table next to the ultrasound scanner. Your Technologist will apply gel to the abdominal area. A hand-held device called a transducer will be guided slowly across your skin. The transducer transfers images to the ultrasound machine and displays them in "real time" onto a computer monitor. "Snapshots" of these images are captured for your Radiologist to review and interpret. The procedure is painless with no short- or long-term side effects.

How long will the exam take?
The length of time required for an abdominal ultrasound is dependent upon your individual exam. When the exam is completed you may be asked to wait until the Radiologist determines if more images are required.

Who interprets the results and how do I get them?
A Radiologist (a medical doctor specializing in diagnosing disease and injury using medical imaging technology) analyzes and interprets your exam within 24 hours. He/she dictates a Report of the findings and sends it to your physician. Your physician's office will inform you of your results. Due to the number of patients your physician serves, it may be 7 to 10 days before he/she is prepared to respond to your Report.

Will my insurance cover the exam?
It is not possible for our office to determine individual coverage. Coverage for imaging tests is variable and depends on your insurance carrier, your plan, any exclusions, and sometimes the reasons for the examination. Prior to undergoing any imaging test, please call the number on the back of your insurance card to determine if it will be covered.

Who do I call if I have questions?
Contact us at (563) 359-3931

Ultrasound patient brochure (PDF)

Radiology Group
Radiology Imaging