An abdominal ultrasound is used to get images of internal organs such as the pancreas, liver, gallbladder, spleen and kidneys.

Common reasons for undertaking this scan include pain; abnormal blood tests (e.g. liver function); jaundice; a palpable mass; bloating; nausea; trauma; and follow-up from other procedures.

To get these images, a device called a transducer is placed on your abdomen.


Your examination will be done by a sonographer, who will introduce themselves and confirm your identity and the procedure you are having. A clear gel is applied to the skin over the area being examined. The ultrasound transducer is moved over the skin surface to look at the structures. During the ultrasound, you will be asked to hold your breath and move into certain positions to allow the sonographer to see your internal organs better.

The images will be looked at by a radiologist who will prepare a written report for your referring doctor. Sometimes, the radiologist will speak to you in person during the examination.

Before your Scan

You are required to fast (not eat or drink) for 6 hours before the exam. Fasting reduces the amount of gas in your abdomen, which makes the images of your internal organs clearer. Fasting also allows distension (expansion) of your gallbladder.

Please also refrain from smoking.

You can take your usual medication with a small amount of water.


Approximately 20 – 30 minutes.

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