Abdominal ultrasound is a radiation-free technique of imaging the body for the evaluation of a variety of abdominal diseases. Ultrasound utilizes sound waves to generate images of organs such as the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, and kidneys, as well as of blood vessels that lead to some of them. A computer receives the waves of sound that reflect off of internal body structures and creates an image from them. The procedure is noninvasive, painless, and requires no anesthesia. For most abdominal ultrasound evaluations, patients should not eat or drink anything for eight hours before the study to help decrease bowel gas that can obstruct ultrasound waves. Any of the patient’s normal medications can be taken with sips of water. Patients undress and don a gown for the examination. They are scanned while lying on a table or bed. Ultrasound gel is applied to the skin to improve the passage of sound waves from the sonographer’s hand-held probe (transducer). Patients may be asked to change position slightly so different areas can be seen better, and they may be asked to hold their breath for a brief period. The exam usually takes 15-to-30 minutes, after which the images will be checked before patients change back into their clothes.
The diagnostic and therapeutic services provided by UAB Radiology play an important role in the comprehensive care delivered at UAB, and Radiology works with every department within UAB Medicine. Our radiology and interventional radiology physicians are national leaders in their field and widely published in peer-reviewed journals and textbooks. They are actively involved in testing and teaching for new techniques and equipment, and they partner with your other physicians to deliver care. UAB Radiology team members are committed to safety and use the American College of Radiology guidelines for dosage and safety procedures. UAB Interventional Radiology’s new ambulatory clinic – located within The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital – provides patients with enhanced pre-procedure evaluations, follow-up services, and more comprehensive care for complex conditions.
As part of a leading academic medical center, UAB Radiology oversees or participates in clinical trials that may provide new opportunities for low-dose drugs, more effective tests, and other new techniques and treatments that are not available elsewhere in the area. The extensive experience and expertise of our radiologists and technologists help ensure that the most accurate and in-depth testing is used in evaluating and treating your condition. We use the latest interventional devices and most advanced imaging techniques, including fluoroscopy, ultrasound, sonogram, and CT (computed tomography) scans. We perform an average of 7,600 CT scans and 3,600 sonograms each month, all while making your comfort and convenience our top priority. Our efficient, attentive staff and the availability of multiple imaging units will help your radiology visit go smoothly.
As a large teaching hospital, UAB Medicine is on the forefront of imaging equipment, and we frequently play a role in improving traditional and emerging imaging technologies, including some designed to reduce radiation exposure during tests. One example is the GE Healthcare CT 750 HD CT scanner, which is used at the UAB Radiology clinic to obtain high-definition images while reducing patients’ radiation exposure.
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