How does a sonogram help diagnose gastrointestinal problems
A sonogram can show bile lakes (collections of bile leaking out of the liver) and gallstones. In addition, a sonogram is one of several tests performed to determine if you may have stomach cancer.
Ultrasound can detect cysts, tumors, abscesses, obstructions, fluid collection, blockages (clots) in blood vessels, and infection within the abdomen. The size of the abdominal aorta can be measured by ultrasound in order to detect an aortic aneurysm. Calculi (stones) of the gallbladder, kidneys, and ureters may be detected by ultrasound. Having a record of this test or a sonogram helps to effectively diagnose and treat the gastrointestinal problems.
Risks of having a sonogram
There is no radiation used and generally no discomfort from the application of the ultrasound transducer to the skin.
There may be risks depending on your specific medical condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your doctor prior to the procedure.
Certain factors or conditions may interfere with the results of the test. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Severe obesity
- Barium within the intestines from a recent barium procedure
- Intestinal gas
Before your sonogram procedure
- your doctor will explain the procedure to you and offer you the opportunity to ask any questions that you might have about the procedure.
- You may be asked to sign a consent form that gives your permission to do the procedure. Read the form carefully and ask questions if something is not clear.
- You may be asked to fast in preparation for your ultrasound
- IV Sedation may also be used during your procedure – your doctor will determine this and discuss this with you
- Although the gel applied to the skin during the procedure does not stain clothing, you may wish to wear older clothing, as the gel may not be completely removed from your skin afterwards.
- Based on your medical condition, your doctor may request other specific preparation.
During the procedure
An abdominal ultrasound may be performed on an outpatient basis at our surgical center, Midwest Endoscopy Center or as part of your stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your doctor’s practices.
Generally, an abdominal ultrasound with sonogram documentation follows this process:
- You will be asked to remove any clothing, jewelry, or other objects that may interfere with the scan.
- If asked to remove clothing, you will be given a gown to wear.
- You will lie on an examination table on your back or side, depending on the specific area of the abdomen to be examined.
- A clear gel will be placed on the skin over the area to be examined.
- The transducer will be pressed against the skin and moved around over the area being studied.
- If blood flow is being assessed, you may hear a “whoosh, whoosh” sound when the Doppler probe is used.
- Once the procedure has been completed, the gel will be wiped off.
While the abdominal ultrasound procedure itself causes no pain, having to lie still for the length of the procedure may cause slight discomfort, and the clear gel will feel cool and wet. The technologist will use all possible comfort measures and complete the procedure as quickly as possible to minimize any discomfort.
After your sonogram
There is no special care required after an abdominal ultrasound. You may resume your usual diet and activities unless your doctor advises you differently. Your doctor may give you additional or alternate instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.