Getting to Know Abdominal Ultrasound More

Abdominal ultrasound machines let health professionals view the inner parts of patients without the need to conduct invasive and painful procedures. High frequency sound waves are projected into the body, bouncing off tissues and organs to provide distinct echo patterns. It is a very effective imaging tool to determine conditions and other problems that occur in the abdominal region. Ultrasound can determine slight differences between fluid-filled tissues for more accurate diagnostic results.

Diagnosing Problems

Abdominal ultrasound can work with a variety of patients afflicted with different types of problems. It is also recommended by doctors if symptoms of spleen disease, liver disease, kidney disease, pancreatic disease, gallstones, abdominal aortic aneurysm and urinary blockage are present.

For abdominal pain, ultrasound will help doctors look for potential causes using general and vague symptoms. All major abdominal organs will then be reviewed to look for other signs of disease such as changes in shape, internal structure and size. In abdominal trauma, bleeding organs may be present which can be threatening to survival. The initial scan will help pinpoint the exact location. Other foreign objects stuck in the area can also be found for immediate removal or treatment.

Diagnosing More Problems

Abdominal masses or growths like tumors, abscesses and cysts can be partially identified using ultrasound machines. Malignant tumors can be distinguished from benign fluid-filled abscesses and cysts. Masses and malformations in any part or organ of the abdomen can be detected. In the case of liver disease, ultrasound can help find different causes and types of liver malfunction. It is also effective in finding obstruction of bile ducts and cirrhosis.

Gallstones can also obstruct the bile ducts. These can readily be identified by the procedure. In spleen disease, the spleen becomes extra vulnerable during trauma of the abdomen. Any abnormality can be examined using ultrasound. Pancreatic disease can be studied more using the process. Malformation and inflammation can be detected. In abdominal aortic aneurysm, ultrasound can easily find the source of the problem.

The Various Modes

There are 4 modes of ultrasound used in medical imaging. The A-mode is the simplest kind wherein a single transducer scans the line through the patient’s body. The echoes are plotted on the screen to determine depth. The method can measure distances inside the body, as well as the size of different internal organs. The B-mode involves a linear group of transducers which scans the plane through the patient’s body together, thereby producing 2D images on screen.

The M-Mode in ultrasound machines involves a fast sequence of B-mode scans with images following one another in a sequential manner. Physicians will then be able to view and measure the range of motion. It is usually applied when examining heart motion. The Doppler mode involves the accurate measurement of velocities of moving substances, like blood through the veins and arteries. The Doppler is usually mixed with B-mode scans to create blood vessel images. Blood flow can better be measured using the technique.

Abdominal ultrasound machines do not require very sophisticated preparations. Patients may be asked to fast 8 hours prior to the test or come with an empty stomach. The machines and procedures are conducted by a physician together with a technologist that knows the machine very well. Expect minimal or zero discomfort throughout the procedure.

Changing positions is common during the test.