Find, measure, or monitor an
aneurysm in the aorta. An aneurysm may cause a large,
pulsing lump in the belly.
Check the size, shape, and position of
the liver. It may also check for
problems of the liver. These include jaundice, cirrhosis, or fatty
liver. This test may be done to follow up after liver function tests.
gallstones, inflammation of the gallbladder, or blocked bile ducts.
Learn the size of an
enlarged spleen and look for damage or disease.
with the pancreas, such as
Look for blocked urine flow in a kidney. If needed, a kidney
ultrasound can find out the size of the kidneys, detect a mass, or detect fluid surrounding the kidneys. It can also look for causes of bladder infections that won't go away. Or it can check how the kidneys are doing after a transplant.
Find out if a mass in a belly organ is a solid tumor or a fluid-filled
Guide the placement of a needle or other tool
Look for fluid buildup in the
belly cavity. This problem is called ascites. An ultrasound also may be done to guide the
needle during a paracentesis. This is a procedure to remove fluid from the belly cavity.
How To Prepare
Tell your doctor if you have had a
barium enema or upper GI
(gastrointestinal) tests within the past 2 days. Barium that stays in the
intestines can affect the results of the ultrasound.
You may need to prepare in other ways too. It depends on what test you are having. For example:
If you are having your liver, gallbladder,
spleen, and pancreas checked, you may need to eat a fat-free meal on the evening
before the test. Then you may need to avoid eating for 8 to 12 hours before the
For a test of the kidneys, you may be asked to drink 4 to 6 glasses of liquid about an hour before the test. This is to fill your bladder. You may need
to avoid eating for 8 to 12 hours before the test to avoid gas buildup in the
intestines. Gas could affect the results of the kidney ultrasound.
If you are having your aorta checked, you
may need to avoid eating for 8 to 12 hours before the test.