What To Think About
Other tests, such as a
computed tomography (CT) scan, may be needed to follow
up abnormal ultrasound results. For more information, see the topic
Computed Tomography (CT) Scan.
X-rays are not recommended during pregnancy because of
the risk of damage to the
fetus. Because ultrasound is safe during pregnancy, it
generally is used instead of an abdominal X-ray if a pregnant woman's abdomen
needs to be checked. In rare cases, gallstones may not be found
by ultrasound. Other imaging tests may be done if gallstones are suspected but
not seen on the ultrasound. For more information, see the topics
Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP),
Abdominal X-ray. Using abdominal
ultrasound, a doctor can usually distinguish among a simple fluid-filled cyst,
a solid tumor, or another type of mass that needs further evaluation. If a
solid tumor is found, abdominal ultrasound cannot determine whether it is
cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign). A
biopsy may be needed if a tumor is found. Ultrasound
may be used during the biopsy to help guide the placement of the
needle. Ultrasound is less expensive than other tests, such as a CT
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, that also can
provide a picture of the abdominal organs. But for some problems, such as
abdominal masses or an injury, a CT scan or MRI may be a more appropriate test.
Also, these tests may be done if the abdominal ultrasound is normal but
abdominal pain persists. For more information, see the topics
Computed Tomography (CT) Scan of the Body and
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the Abdomen. A pelvic ultrasound will be used to produce a
picture of the lower abdominal (pelvic) organs and other structures inside the
pelvis. For more information, see the topic
Other Works Consulted
Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009).
Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed.
Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010).
Mosby’s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Howard Schaff, MD - Diagnostic Radiology
December 4, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
December 04, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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