Mercy Medical Center North Iowa

Abdomen and Small Parts Ultrasound

What is an Abdominal and/or Small Parts Ultrasound Study?
An abdominal ultrasound is an ultrasound exam of the liver, kidneys, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, and bladder. A small parts ultrasound is an ultrasound exam of the thyroid, breast or testicle. High frequency sound waves are used to obtain imaging and can help diagnose a variety of conditions including gallstones, kidney disease, cysts verses solid masses, and to evaluate blood flow to body organs.

Why Did the Doctor Order This Exam for Me?
Pain, nausea, or vomiting, abnormal lab values, or enlargement of certain body parts are some of the common reasons to undergo an ultrasound.

What do I Need to do to Prepare for the Exam?
If you are having an abdominal ultrasound, you will be asked to not eat or drink after midnight on the night before the exam. If you are having a small parts ultrasound, no special preparation is needed for this exam.

What Should I Expect when I Arrive?
There are currently two areas where ultrasounds are performed. When your exam is scheduled, the doctor's office will specify if you need to check in at Forest Park Imaging or at Mercy Medical Center - North Iowa's East Campus Radiology/Imaging Services desk.

At that time, your personal and insurance information will be updated. You will need to provide your doctor's written order. Once you are registered, you will be asked to sit in the waiting area. A technologist will call your name and take you to the ultrasound room.

Who will be in the Exam Room with Me?
A registered sonographer will perform the exam in Radiology's lab, which is accredited by the American College of Radiography. There also may be a student from the Radiology School assisting the sonographer.

What will I Experience During the Exam?
The sonographer will ask you some questions regarding your medical history and the problems that you are experiencing. The sonographer will explain the examto you and make sure all your questions are answered. You will be asked to lie down on your back on a cart. Warm lotion and a transducer (a hand-held device that transmits sound waves) will be rubbed along your abdomen, thyroid, breast or testicles. The entire exam could take between 30 to 40 minutes.

What do I need to do After the Exam?
Following the abdominal and/or small parts ultrasound, you will be able to resume normal activities.

When will I get the Results of the Exam?
You will receive your results from your ordering physician.  You may receive a letter, a phone call, or have a follow up appointment with your physician.  If you are unsure of how you will receive your results, please contact your physician's office.

We are very concerned about any anxiety you may have about your exam. We are happy to answer any questions you may have. If you have questions call 641-428-5122 or 1-800-433-3883, ext. 5122