Ultrasonography of the abdomen and pelvis
- Choice of exam
- At least 6 hours of fasting[notes 2]
- The target structures are known to be superficial to any intestines
- The case is emergent enough to justify a suboptimal exam
For symptoms of the upper abdomen, it is a proper custom to perform a general screening of the following locations:
- Pancreas, mainly for dilatation of the pancreatic duct, or obvious tumors.
- Liver, for echogenicity and focal changes.
In case of suspected pathology, see: Ultrasonography of the liver
- Hepatorenal recess for ascites.
- Biliary tract, for gallstones (see Ultrasonography of gallstones) and dilatation of the intrahepatic or extrahepatic bile ducts. The common bile duct is normally up to 8 mm. Further information: Basic screening of the biliary tract.
- Spleen, mainly for size, where 11 cm is a common cutoff.
In case of suspected pathology, see: Ultrasonography of the spleen
Also, it is generally easy to have a quick glance at the kidneys just to exclude hydronephrosis.
In case of suspected pathology, see: Ultrasonography of the urinary system
Example in a normal case:
Gallbladder with thin wall and no gallstones. Normal width of the intra-and extrahepatic bile ducts.
Liver with normal echogenicity and no focal lesions.
Normal head and body of the pancreas.
Normally sized spleen.
- See also: General notes on reporting
Ultrasonographies of the lower abdomen can generally be focused on the condition requested in the referral.
Diseases and conditions
- Hoeffel, Christine; Azizi, Louisa; Lewin, Maité; Laurent, Valérie; Aubé, Christophe; Arrivé, Lionel; Tubiana, Jean-Michel (2006). "Normal and Pathologic Features of the Postoperative Biliary Tract at 3D MR Cholangiopancreatography and MR Imaging ". RadioGraphics 26 (6): 1603–1620. doi:10.1148/rg.266055730. ISSN 0271-5333.