What is an abdominal ultrasound test and what should you expect from this test?
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What is an Ultrasound Test?
An ultrasound test is known in clinical terms as an Ultrasonography Test or USG. These tests are performed either on the abdominal or pelvic region to diagnose different types of ailments. A USG test uses the technology of sonography to get live images of organs inside the body and these tests can help doctors to a great extent in diagnosing serious ailments. USG tests like an abdominal ultrasound test are most commonly known for being used to confirm pregnancies during the second trimester. To better understand this technology, you can think of it as something similar to radar or sonar used in the military. However, what’s unique about USG is that it does not use radiation of any sort, unlike a few other clinical and scientific live imaging technologies. As a result, an abdominal ultrasound test is considered completely safe for pregnant women.
What is an Abdominal Ultrasound Test and Why is it Done?
An abdominal ultrasound test is a USG procedure that is conducted on the abdominal area of the body. With the help of abdominal USG tests, doctors are able to see live captures images of organs and other structures inside the abdominal region of the body. While it is most commonly used for pregnancies, doctors also use it to diagnose internal physical ailments like Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. Thus, an abdominal ultrasound test or Abdominal USG is used to diagnose mild to severe ailments that may affect the internal organs housed in the abdominal region so that effective forms of treatment can begin as early as possible.
How is an Abdominal Ultrasound Test Performed?
To know more about how an abdominal USG is performed you need to understand first how a USG machine works. A USG machine is built to produce ultrasonic sound waves that penetrate the abdominal region. These sound waves reflect off of the internal organs and other structures like bones, muscles and tissues in the abdominal region. The handheld transducer of a USG machine then receives the reflected sound waves and produces live images of the internal structures on a screen. Now, the entire procedure for an abdominal USG is performed with a certain amount of preparation on the part of the patient as well as the doctor. Let’s look at the entire process of an abdominal USG to understand better what you can expect before, during, and after this procedure.
What to Expect from an Abdominal Ultrasound Test?
Before the Procedure
One of the preparatory steps that you have to take before you go for an abdominal USG, is that you need to fast for at least 8 to 12 hours before the procedure. You should also ensure that you empty your bowels as well as your bladder. This is because urine in the bladder and fecal matter can often cloud the visuals captured by a USG. Once you enter a diagnostic laboratory or hospital for an abdominal USG, you may be asked to wear a hospital gown instead of your regular clothes. Moreover, you should also enquire beforehand from your doctor whether you should continue taking any medication you are currently on.
During the Procedure
You probably didn’t know that your abdominal USG will be done by a sonographer and not a doctor. This is because sonographers are specially trained in performing ultrasound tests on different parts of the body. They are an authority when it comes to USG tests. The sonographer first applies a special gel on your abdomen which helps the handheld transducer to capture a better quality of images. It is a common practice to shave any thick body hair in the abdominal region to further aid in developing clear images. An abdominal ultrasound test is completely painless for most. However, if you have some form of pain or soreness in the abdominal region, you may experience some amount of pain as the sonographer applies pressure on the area for a clearer image.
After the Procedure
There is no recovery time whatsoever after an abdominal ultrasound test since it is an entirely non-invasive and painless procedure. However, you may have to repeatedly rinse your abdominal region to wash off the gel that is used during the USG test. The typical time taken to complete an abdominal USG can take anything between 30 to 40 minutes. You can usually expect to receive the results of this within 24 hours.
Since abdominal ultrasound tests do not involve any kind of radiation that is commonly attributed to other tests like CT scans and X-rays, they are 100% safe for people of all ages. However, there have been extremely rare cases of ultrasound tests heating the tissues in the abdomen temporarily. There have been no recorded adverse effects of this in the long term. Therefore, with the help of this thorough walkthrough of what to expect in an abdominal ultrasound test, you can be better prepared to undergo such a procedure, if you need it.