Abdominal and Pelvic Ultrasound Scan
The Abdominal Scan
Abdominal ultrasound scans are the most common ultrasound examinations as there are many organs within the abdominal viscera. The main organs visualised with ultrasound in the upper abdomen are the liver, the gallbladder, the pancreas, the kidneys and the spleen. Upper abdominal or RUQ pain could be related to these organs and sometimes the stomach.
The liver which is the second largest organ in the body. The role of the liver is to process nutrients absorbed by the bowel, fight infections, remove toxins from the body such as alcohol, control cholesterol and release bile to name a few. The gallbladder which is a pear shape sack that stores the bile produced from the liver and releases it via the biliary tract when we need to break down the fat. Stones within the gallbladder called gallstones can cause pain and indigestion.
The pancreas is responsible for producing insulin and regulate the blood sugar in the bloodstream. The kidneys are responsible for filtering the toxins from the blood and also regulate the blood pressure. Kidney stones are very common and can cause pain and sometimes obstruction that can be manifested by blood in urine. The spleen which is part of the immune system and clears the blood of proliferating blood cells.
The main reason for abdominal scans is abdominal pain or RUQ pain that sometimes can be associated with food and in most cases is related to gallstones.
The Pelvic Ultrasound Scan
Gynaecological problems such as heavy bleeding, painful periods or sex and generalised pelvic pain are very common and affect all age groups. Pelvic ultrasound scans are regularly deployed to identify any causes of these symptoms such as uterine polyps, fibroids, ovarian cysts.
There are two kinds of pelvic ultrasound scans the transabdominal or supra-pubic (through the bladder) and the transvaginal.(through the vagina).
There is a bit of conflict of opinions as to which scan is the best. Both ultrasound approaches are used to image the uterus and the ovaries for any abnormality. They both give useful information that can be combined for the best diagnostic outcome. Sometimes the transabdominal image quality is so good that there is absolutely no need to invade your privacy. In our ultrasound clinic, we use them as complementary to each other.
The Urinary Tract Ultrasound Scan
Urinary tract or waterworks problems are very common affecting both sexes. Kidney stones can cause immense pain and blood in the urine. Kidney stones can cause pain and also stop the kidneys from draining in the bladder by blocking the ureters resulting in what is called hydronephrosis. If renal hydronephrosis is left untreated can result in scaring and other significant problems with your kidneys. Bladder problems are also very common. In men, bladder problems can be associated with an enlarged prostate. In women can be amongst other causes, a result of uterine fibroids that press on the bladder. In ideal circumstances, diagnosis and proper treatment/management of the symptoms should be accomplished as soon as possible but the long NHS waiting lists can cause unnecessary pain and distress. This why our clients take control of their health and choose a private ultrasound scan with us.
What is the purpose of this scan?
This ultrasound scan will examine:
- Your uterus (womb)
- The lining of the uterus (endometrium)
- Adjacent pelvic structures
Reasons for having an abdominal and pelvic ultrasound scan include:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal bloating
- Abnormal liver function tests,
- Follow up on previous findings such as cysts, gallstones, polyps, kidney stones
- Abnormal Blood Tests
- Pain in the kidney region
- Blood in the urine
- Bladder issues
- Urinary tract infection
- Detect many tumours & cancers
- High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
- Pelvic pain
- History of fibroids
- Ovarian cysts
- Detect fibroids
Preparation for this scan?
For this ultrasound scan you are required to fast for at least 4 hours (if you are diabetic you may have a sugary supplement if needed).
We will also need your bladder full, so please drink 2 pints of water one hour before your scan. On occasions, a transvaginal scan might be required in order to further evaluate the pelvic organs.
What should I expect?
Before the abdominal ultrasound scan, our sonographer will explain the examination procedure. You will be asked to lie on the examination couch exposed part of your abdomen. We will put a little bit of ultrasonic gel on your skin and a small ultrasound probe will be used to obtain images of your internal organs. During and after the examination our sonographer will explain the findings and an ultrasound report will be issued to take away with you.
Ultrasound imaging is a medical diagnostic technique where sound waves are being used to image various parts of the body.
Other terms for ultrasound imaging are sonograms, US and sonography.
Ultrasound is widely used these days as it is painless and safe for adults, children and foetuses. There are no side effects such as the ones associated with radiation.
During the ultrasound scan, the sonographer rests a small probe over the skin. This probe produces sound waves i.e pulsations that travel through the tissues. Some of the sound waves are being reflected back to the transducer and the computer analyses the returning echoes and produces the image on the screen. It is the same principle as the sonar the navy uses.
Ultrasound is being used to image mostly solid organs such as liver, kidneys, uterus and ovaries, muscles and blood vessels and babies in the womb.
It has, however, limited value in organs such lungs, bone, stomach and bowel/colon.
Ultrasound images are black and white but colour Doppler is being used to evaluate organ and blood vessel blood flow and this is what the red and blue colours on the screen are.