The purpose of an abdominal scan is to help identify any problems that may be occurring in major organs such as the bladder, appendix, Gallbladder, small and large intestines, liver, pancreas, spleen and stomach.
An abdominal scan can be used to monitor an unborn baby, diagnose a condition or guide a surgeon through certain procedures.
The abdominal scan is not uncomfortable or painful, the only thing you should be able to feel is the sensor and gel on your skin.
The abdominal scan works by a probe giving off high frequency sound waves, you will not be able to hear these sound waves but when they bounce off different parts of the body they create “echoes” that are picked up by the probe and turned into an image that you can see. The image will be displayed on a monitor while the scan is being carried out.
The procedure of an abdominal scan you will usually be asked to lie flat on your back on an examination table. You will have a gel substance to the abdominal skin; this helps the sound waves to pass through the abdomen more efficiently and effectively by removing small pockets of air that could interfere.
A transducer (a wand like device) will send high frequency waves to your body and picks up a responding signal; it will be placed onto the abdomen and move around the area to create a clear image.
You may be asked before your abdominal scan to drink plenty of water and not go to the toilet until after the scan-this may be needed before a scan of your unborn baby or the pelvic area. You may also be asked not to eat anything before the abdominal scan if it’s a scan of the digestive system, this could include the liver and gallbladder.
The abdominal scan should take between 15-45 minutes; they usually take place in a hospital in a radiology department.
After an abdominal scan there should be no after effects and you can go home soon after the scan is finished.
You can usually drive, eat, drink and return to your other normal activities straight away.