There are many reasons for examining the abdomen with ultrasound. These are among the more common reasons:
An ultrasound examination might not provide all the information your doctor needs. In those cases, additional studies could be required.
Your doctor will probably tell you to refrain from eating or drinking for about eight hours prior to the exam. This is because these actions increase the amount of abdominal gas and could alter blood flow in upper abdominal organs or cause the gallbladder to contract, preventing an adequate ultrasound examination.
The length of time for the examination varies with the complexity of the exam and the specific reasons for which it was requested. After the exam, you may safely drive home and eat and drink normally.
Because bone weakens sound waves, ultrasound cannot be used to examine bones surrounding your abdomen, such as your ribs. Also, because sound is weakened as it passes through layers of tissue, results from patients who are overweight are not of the same quality as those from patients who are thin. In addition, ultrasound cannot obtain images through gas. Thus, bowel gas could limit visualization of some structures of interest.