• Preparing for an Abdominal Ultrasound

    • You should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for your ultrasound exam. You may need to remove all clothing and jewelry in the area to be examined.
    • You may be asked to wear a gown during the procedure.
    • To ensure the best possible image quality, you should not eat or drink anything outside of what is indicated below (including any medications taken by mouth, especially antacids) and to refrain from chewing gum and smoking after midnight on the day of the examination.
    • Tell your doctor if you have had a barium enema or a series of upper GI (gastrointestinal) tests within the past two days. Barium that remains in the intestines can interfere with the ultrasound test.
    • Other preparations depend on the type of ultrasound you are having.


    • To ensure the best possible image quality, you must fast (no food or drink) for eight before the test.


    • You may be asked to drink 20 ounces of liquid about an hour before the test to fill your bladder.


    • Nothing to eat or drink after midnight.
  • What to Expect During the Exam

    • During the exam, a sonographer trained in ultrasound imaging will press a small hand-held transducer against your skin and move it over the area being examined. A small amount of gel will be used to help eliminate air pockets between your skin and the device.
    • The transducer sends information to a computer, which composes detailed images based on the patterns created by the sound waves.
    • An ultrasound is usually a painless procedure. However, you may experience some mild discomfort as the sonographer guides the transducer over your body. A typical ultrasound exam takes from 30 minutes to an hour.

  • After the Exam

    • Because ultrasounds are a noninvasive medical procedure, there should be little to no lasting discomfort after your procedure, and there are no post-procedure requirements for patients.
  • About Abdominal Ultrasounds

    Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, involves exposing part of the body to high-frequency sound waves to produce pictures of the inside of the body. Ultrasound exams do not use ionizing radiation (as used in x-rays). Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.

    An abdominal ultrasound produces a picture of the organs and other structures in the upper abdomen. An abdominal ultrasound cannot visualize the intestinal tract.

    A Doppler ultrasound study may be part of your abdominal ultrasound examination. It is a special ultrasound technique that evaluates blood velocity as it flows through a blood vessel, including the body's major arteries and veins in the abdomen.

    For additional information visit www.radiologyinfo.org