Abdominal Ultrasound

An abdominal ultrasound is a noninvasive procedure used to assess the organs and structures within the abdomen. This includes the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, bile ducts, spleen, and abdominal aorta.


Abdominal Ultrasound uses a transducer that sends out ultrasound waves at a frequency too high to be heard. The ultrasound transducer is placed on the skin, and the ultrasound waves move through the body.  When the sound waves bounce off the organs and return to the transducer they create an image on the ultrasound machine.


For an A.M. appointment, fat free dinner the evening before. Nothing to eat or drink from midnight until after the examination. For a P.M. appointment, clear liquid breakfast (no milk) before 9 A.M. Nothing to eat or drink after breakfast.

You may take your medications with a small amount of water.

Based on your medical condition, your doctor may request other specific preparation.


Abdominal ultrasound may be used to assess the size and location of abdominal organs and structures. It can also be used to check the abdomen for conditions such as:

  • Cysts, tumors
  • Collection of pus and/or fluid
  • Obstructions
  • Blockages in blood vessels
  • Infection

The size of the abdominal aorta can be measured by ultrasound in order to detect an aortic aneurysm. Stones in the gallbladder, kidneys, and ureters may be detected by ultrasound.

Abdominal ultrasound may also be used to assess the blood flow of various structures within the abdomen.

There may be other reasons for your doctor to recommend an abdominal ultrasound.