What is considered to be the “abdominal area, the midsection so to speak of  your body?” Most would consider the abdomen to be home to important organs including the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, and towards the back, the kidneys.

So when it is necessary to examine the abdomen, there are several areas to review. Pain in the abdomen can arise from issues with any of the  organs, the blood vessels and ducts, or even the supporting tissues.

Because there is so much to see, imaging options should be selected carefully and often times, it starts with ultrasound.

Ultrasound captures images with sound waves instead of radiation. It is fast, noninvasive, and painless. The most uncomfortable someone might feel is when a tender area is evaluated in the scan.

Once the ultrasound technologist applies the gel, the probe, known as a transducer, is glided across the skin. A computer calculates black, white and grey images in real time, instantly showing on a screen. Your radiologist can then interpret those images and determine what’s healthy, or what needs attention for treatment.

When you have a focal symptom, such as a pain, we can look specifically at the area in question, even viewing it with you in different positions (as in, does it hurts right here when I do this?). Flank pain, especially in young patients, those who are pregnant, and those with known kidney stones are excellent candidates for abdominal ultrasound.

Right upper quadrant pain or pain after eating fatty foods can be due to gallstones – best seen and evaluated by ultrasound. Right lower quadrant pain can be an indicator of appendicitis and in kids and young adults ultrasound is a great first imaging test.

No matter what the diagnosis, it’s important to take care of your midsection — as well as the rest of you! But when needed and appropriate, ultrasound is an excellent tool in helping us help you.

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