ultrasound uses reflected sound waves to produce a
picture of the organs and other structures in the upper abdomen. Sometimes a
specialized ultrasound is ordered for a detailed evaluation of a specific
organ, such as a kidney ultrasound. An abdominal ultrasound can evaluate
aorta, which is the large blood vessel (artery) that
passes down the back of the chest and abdomen. The aorta supplies blood to the
lower part of the body and the legs.
Liver, which is
a large dome-shaped organ that lies under the rib cage on the right side of the
abdomen. The liver produces bile (a substance that helps digest fat), stores
sugars, and breaks down many of the body's waste products.
Gallbladder, which is a small sac-shaped organ beneath the
liver that stores bile. When food is eaten, the gallbladder
contracts, sending bile into the intestines to help in digesting food and
absorbing fat-soluble vitamins.
is the soft, round organ that helps fight infection and filters old red blood
cells. The spleen is located to the left of the stomach, just behind the lower
is the gland located in the upper abdomen that produces
enzymes that help digest food. The digestive enzymes
are then released into the intestines. The pancreas also releases
insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin helps the body
use sugars for energy.
are the pair of bean-shaped organs located behind the upper abdominal cavity.
The kidneys remove wastes from the blood and produce urine.
A pelvic ultrasound evaluates the structures and organs in
the lower abdominal area (pelvis).
Find, measure, or monitor an
aneurysm in the aorta. An aneurysm may cause a large,
pulsing lump in the abdomen.
Check the size, shape, and position of
the liver. An ultrasound may be done to evaluate
jaundice and other problems of the liver, including
cirrhosis, fat deposits in the liver (called fatty
liver), or abnormal liver function tests.
gallstones, inflammation of the gallbladder
(cholecystitis), or blocked bile ducts. See a picture of a
with the pancreas, such as
a pancreatic tumor.
Look for blocked urine flow in a kidney. A kidney
ultrasound may also be done to find out the size of the kidneys, detect kidney
masses, detect fluid surrounding the kidneys, investigate causes for recurring
urinary tract infections, or check the condition of
Find out whether a mass in any of the
abdominal organs (such as the liver) is a solid tumor or a simple fluid-filled
Guide the placement of a needle or other instrument
Look for fluid buildup in the
abdominal cavity (ascites). An ultrasound also may be done to guide the
needle during a procedure to remove fluid from the abdominal cavity (paracentesis).