How to Preform an Abdominal Ultrasound, Guide for Technician (sonographer)

How to Preform an Abdominal Ultrasound, Guide for Technician (sonographer)

What is an abdominal ultrasound?

An abdominal ultrasound is a safe and painless test that uses sound waves to make images of the abdomen (belly).

During the examination of the abdominal area. The black-and-white images show the internal structures of the abdomen such as:
  • Liver
  • Gall bladder
  • Pancreas
  • Spleen
  • Kidney
  • Appendix
  • Intestine
  • Urinary bladder
Abdominal Ultrasound

Why It's done, Symptoms

  • Abdominal pain
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Abnormal liver
  • Kidney function test
  • Swollen belly
An abdominal ultrasound test can show the size of the abdominal organs and can help evaluate injuries to or disease of the abdominal organs.

Specific conditions that ultrasound can Help Diagnose include:

  • Localized abdominal pain with indefinite clinical features
  • Appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix)
  • Nonspecific abdominal masses such as tumors, cysts, or abscesses 
  • Suspected intraabdominal fluid (ascites)
  • Abdominal trauma.
Abdominal ultrasounds also are used to monitor the growth and development of a baby in the uterus during pregnancy.


  1. Preparation of the patient. The patient should take nothing by mouth for 8 hrs preceding the examination. If the fluid is essential to prevent dehydration, only water should be given.
  2. Position of the patient. The patient should lie comfortably on his/her back (supine). The head may rest on a small pillow may also be placed under the patient's knees.
  3. Choice of the transducer. Use 3.5 MHz transducers for adults. 5 MHz transducer for children or for thin adults.

Scanning technique

After adjusting the gain, slowly move the transducer from the midline across the abdomen to the right, stopping to check the image approximately every 1cm. Repeat at different levels, when the right side has been scanned, examined the left side in the same way. 

After these abdominal transverse scans, turn the transducer 90 d a start again centrally at the xiphoid angle below the ribs. Again, locate the liver and, if necessary, ask the patient to take a very deep breath to show it more clearly. Make sure that the gain setting is correct.

Below the ribs, keep the transducer in a vertical position, and move it downwards towards The feet (candid). Repeat in different ventricles planes to scan the whole abdomen.

It is important to recognize 

  1. Aorta and inferior vena cava 
  2. Liver, portal vein, hepatic vein
  3. Biliary tract and gall bladder
  4. Spleen
  5. Pancreas
  6. Kidney
  7. Diaphragm
  8. Urinary bladder (if filled)
  9. Pelvis contents


No risks are associated with an abdominal ultrasound. Unlike x-rays, radiation isn't involved with this test.

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