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.
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).
How To Prepare
Tell your doctor if you have had a
barium enema or a series of upper GI
(gastrointestinal) tests within the past 2 days. Barium that remains in the
intestines can interfere with the ultrasound test.
preparations depend on the reason for the abdominal ultrasound test you are
For ultrasound of the liver, gallbladder,
spleen, and pancreas, you may be asked to eat a fat-free meal on the evening
before the test and then to avoid eating for 8 to 12 hours before the
For ultrasound of the kidneys, you may not need any special
preparation. You may be asked to drink 4 to 6 glasses of liquid (usually juice
or water) about an hour before the test to fill your bladder. You may be asked
to avoid eating for 8 to 12 hours before the test to avoid gas buildup in the
intestines. Gas could interfere with the evaluation of the kidneys, which lay
behind the stomach and intestines.
For ultrasound of the aorta, you
may need to avoid eating for 8 to 12 hours before the test.