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If you’re an Admin Assistant, Office Manager, or just a general busybody looking to rock the casual Friday world of your office-mates,  taking  job-relevant cues from an ultrasound technician might seem like an absurd idea at first. After all, they wear scrubs! They don’t get dressed up to go to work! Of course, there are actually some important considerations to take when choosing what to wear for an abdominal ultrasound.

A transabdominal ultrasound is a painless, noninvasive procedure that can be used to screen for a variety of conditions and diseases.

What is an Abdominal Ultrasound?

An abdominal ultrasound (also called a “transabdominal ultrasound”) uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of your internal organs. The images are displayed on a computer monitor.

What Can an Abdominal Ultrasound Detect?

An abdominal ultrasound can help detect:

Tumors and tumors in the ovaries or testicles;

Inflammation or swelling in the liver and spleen;

Kidney stones;

Liver abnormalities; and

Aortic aneurysm (an enlarged artery).

What to Wear to an Abdominal Ultrasound

The whole process of an abdominal ultrasound will take about 15-20 minutes. You may be asked to remove your clothing, but you don’t need to do it completely.

Typically, you’ll just need to remove your top and bra (if you’re a woman). If you’re having a male or female pelvic ultrasound, the doctor may ask you to remove everything from the waist down.

If you’ll be getting an abdominal ultrasound, the doctor may ask that your child wear a diaper and a T-shirt or button-down shirt with no snaps or zippers.

Abdominal Ultrasound Preparation

You’ll be asked not to eat or drink anything for four hours before the procedure, but if it’s hard for you to make it that long without food or water, tell your doctor ahead of time. He or she may advise eating lightly and sipping water just before your appointment time so that your stomach is not empty during the exam.

An abdominal ultrasound is a diagnostic test that uses sound waves to create images of the internal organs. It can be used to look for diseases or other conditions in the abdomen and pelvis, such as:

Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA). An AAA is a bulge or ballooning in the wall of your body’s largest artery, which carries blood from your heart to your lower body. This can cause heavy bleeding if it bursts, so it’s important to get treatment as soon as possible.

Kidney stones. Small mineral deposits form in the kidneys and urinary tract and can cause pain if they move into other parts of your urinary tract, such as your bladder or ureter (tube that drains urine from the kidney to the bladder).

Pancreatic cysts. Cysts are sacs filled with fluid that form on organs in your body. Pancreatic cysts are often benign (noncancerous), but they can become cancerous if they grow too large or spread to other areas in your pancreas.

Liver abnormalities. An ultrasound can show whether you have a liver tumor or another problem with this organ’s structure or function such as cirrhosis (scarring) or jaundice (yellowing

An abdominal ultrasound is a painless test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create a picture of the organs and structures in your abdomen.

The test can help your doctor detect:

Abdominal masses, such as tumors. These include solid masses (tumors), cysts and abscesses.

Fluid-filled spaces (abnormal fluid collections). Abnormal amounts of fluid can be found in your abdomen if you have an inflammatory condition or an infection. It may also be present if you’ve had surgery, such as a hysterectomy or appendectomy.

Liver cysts, which are noncancerous sacs filled with fluid that form on the surface of the liver. These cysts typically disappear on their own within two years, but they may be associated with several conditions, including hepatitis C infection and glycogen storage disease type 1b.

Ultrasound is a very safe and painless test. There are no known risks of having ultrasound, although the technician might need to use gel on your skin so that the sound waves can pass through your body and be detected by the machine.

You may feel some mild pressure from being on the examination table, but it shouldn’t be uncomfortable. You’ll be able to hear the sound of the machine as well as your heart beating, but it’s not loud enough to worry about.

Some people have an anxiety reaction when they hear the word “ultrasound,” but it’s a very safe procedure with no known risks or side effects. If you’re concerned about having an abdominal ultrasound, talk with your doctor about whether another test would be better suited to your needs.

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