Indication/Technique

Indication

This module provides general information about ultrasound examination of the abdomen. With details on how it can and cannot be used.

Primary indications:

  • Abdominal pain (including appendicitis, bile stones, kidney stones), herniation, umbilical hernia, inguinal hernia.
  • Ascites
  • Abdominal aneurysm
  • Abnormal blood test results (liver and renal impairment)
  • Unexplained fever
  • Trauma (internal bleeding screening)
  • Oncology (liver metastases screening)


Technique

The Ultrasound Technique module provides a basic understanding of ultrasound technique; it is recommended to read this module also.


By way of repetition:
location and direction of the transducer on the patient’s skin determine anterior/posterior and left/right in the image.

As a general rule, in the transversal plane:

  • The top of the ultrasound image is the anterior (ventral) side and the bottom is the posterior (dorsal) side.
  • Left on the image is actually right and vice versa. The body is seen from below as it were (as in a transversal section of a CT scan).
Abdominal ultrasound; left kidney in the transversal plane.

Figure 1a. Left kidney in the transversal plane.

As a general rule, in the sagittal plane:

  • the top of the ultrasound image is the anterior side; the bottom is the posterior side.
  • Right on the image is towards the feet (= caudal) and left is towards the head (= cranial).
Abdominal ultrasound; left kidney in the sagittal plane.

Figure 1b. Left kidney in the sagittal plane.

Orientation tip during examination: up is always the skin side, irrespective of position and tipping. As a general rule, each organ and each abnormality is imaged in two directions; in most cases the transversal and sagittal directions. Posterior sound transmission and acoustic shadowing are ultrasound characteristics that are frequently used in abdominal ultrasound examinations. See also the Artefacts section in the Ultrasound Technique module.