What preparation is needed for an abdomen ultrasound?
You will need to fast – do not eat or drink for at least 6 hours and do not smoke or chew gum for at least 2 hours before your appointment.
Can I take my medication?
Yes, if you take regular medication it is ok to take this with a small mouthful of water on the day of your appointment.
I have diabetes. Can I eat before my appointment? Can I take my medication?
Yes, it is acceptable to eat something very small in order to keep your blood sugar stable. However, do not eat anything with fat in it. For example, do not have milk or butter. You should also take your medication as required. Tell the receptionist that you have diabetes at the time of making the appointment and we will ensure you get an appointment early in the morning.
Why can’t I eat, drink, smoke or chew gum before an abdominal ultrasound?
Sonographers need you fasted for a few reasons.
- Soundwaves don’t travel through air very well so ultrasound is unable to see in or behind areas that are filled with air (gas). When we eat, the food and gas in our stomach obscures the soundwaves from seeing some abdominal organs clearly.
- If you smoke or chew gum you will naturally swallow air and this air will get in the way of the ultrasound.
- Part of an abdominal ultrasound involves assessing the gallbladder. When you have fasted correctly, if your gallbladder is normal, it will be distended and easily seen. If you have eaten, the gallbladder will contract and appear abnormal.
My gallbladder was removed. Do I still have to fast before this exam?
Yes. You still need to fast and abstain from smoking or chewing gum before your exam as the gas produced by these activities will interfere with the scan.
What do you look at in an abdomen ultrasound?
We look at your aorta, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, liver, bile ducts, blood vessels and gallbladder. The exam may be extended beyond this if clinically indicated.
How long does an abdomen ultrasound take?
The scan will take approximately 20 minutes.