Understanding Abdominal Ultrasounds

Ultrasound Probes and Transducers, Ultrasound Systems, Understanding Ultrasounds - Wed Aug 15 2018


There are many reasons why diagnosticians and patients would utilize abdominal ultrasound systems. Obviously, the abdominal ultrasound time fluctuates, and that – depending on the quality of the probe and system – is an important consideration. The abdominal ultrasound reasons vary as well. One could receive an ultrasound during pregnancy to check on the baby’s health and development. Another may desire to examine one’s liver or kidneys. This blog article will begin to elaborate on the fundamentals of abdominal ultrasounds.

Time for Abdominal Ultrasounds:

There are two steps in receiving ultrasound results: Completing the test and capturing the images of your abdomen is the first stage. The next step is examining the image and diagnosing what is depicted from the ultrasound picture. Thankfully, technology has developed so that the actual ultrasound test doesn’t take longer than a few minutes (depending on what is being scanned). The diagnosis, on the other hand, can take a bit more time. Depending on the quality of the ultrasound image, the complexity or severity of the internal structure, it can take a doctor anywhere from few minutes to a few days to pinpoint precisely what requires attention.

Abdominal ultrasound pregnancy check-ups generally take a few moments to scan and examine. The rest of the time often is dedicated to answering questions for the mother or father. A scan diagnosing the liver or kidney to examine damage to structures, functionality, or blood flow may take a bit longer to examine – and similarly to pregnancy ultrasounds – will have a fair portion of time allotted to answering questions.

In terms of preparation, none is really required. One is not obligated to abstain from food, from drink or any other activity (unless specifically directed from the diagnostician). The time generally required for your abdominal ultrasound is the time it takes to drive from your house or office to the hospital, private practice or imaging center you are going to.

2D OB-GYN ultrasound
2D Ultrasound Image of Baby

Reasons for Abdominal Ultrasounds:

There are many reasons why one would require an abdominal ultrasound. One of the most popular reasons is for pregnancy. There are ultrasound systems that are specifically engineered and designed for this purpose including the GE Voluson (both portable and stationary options available) series. The Mindray DC-70 and the Samsung WS80A are other high quality systems that specialize in OB-GYN ultrasounds. Many of these systems are even capable of producing 3D and Live 3D images of the baby to trace and track it’s development.

Other reasons, as mentioned above, include check-ups on one’s liver and kidney. Spotting kidney stones, hernias, identifying tumors and gallstones are just a few other reasons for abdominal ultrasounds. These images can confirm regularities, illnesses, structural damages, growths and clots.

Abdominal Ultrasound Equipment:

As we mentioned briefly above, there are specific ultrasound systems that are designed for abdominal applications. Some of the more popular units include the GE Voluson E8, Samsung WS80 and the Philips Epiq 7. These unit specialize in OB-GYN, abdominal and similar application ultrasound images. Other systems are capable of producing quality images but do not specialize exclusively in abdominal applications. For example, the GE Logiq E portable ultrasound system, or the Philips HD15.

One also must make sure that one is utilizing the proper ultrasound transducer. The transducers that specialize in abdominal applications are always curved array probes (probe and transducers are one in the same). Any probe who’s lens is curved can be used for a variety of abdominal applications. Occasionally, phased array or sector array transducers can also be employed to produce abdominal images, usually for pediatrics though. Some examples of popular curved array probes include the GE 10C-D, Philips C6-2 and the Mindray C7-3etransducers. In terms of phased array probes that can project abdominal images, some popular transducers include the Siemens Acuson P4-2, the Sonosite P10x and the GE 3S-RS probes. 

GE 10C-D Microconvex probe
GE 10C-D Micro Convex Curved Array Probe

Ultrasound Safety:

There is always the concern, particularly when it comes to medical equipment, regarding the safety of the devices and the potential side effects that occur as a result of employing these machines.

It is important to know that ultrasound machines are known to be completely harmless. They function through the utilization of sound waves emitting from the probe or transducer. These sound waves are then translated into images by the ultrasound machine or system. There is no need to fear when using ultrasound machines – it is a quick, easy and efficient way to diagnose and help determine a patient’s ails.