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An abdominal ultrasound uses reflected sound waves to produce a picture of the organs and other structures in the upper abdomen. Sometimes a special ultrasound is done for a closer look at a specific organ, such as a kidney ultrasound.
An ultrasound does not use X-rays or other types of radiation. During an abdominal ultrasound, a small handheld unit called a transducer is gently moved over the belly. A computer converts the reflected sound waves into a picture shown on a TV screen.
An abdominal ultrasound may help find problems of the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, abdominal aorta, and kidneys.
Last Revised: November 29, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Howard Schaff, MD - Diagnostic Radiology
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