A lower abdomen ultrasound can be used to assess the appendix and other pelvic structures to identify possible causes of pain.
In most people, the appendix is located in the right lower part of the abdomen. However, it is common for the pain to be felt around the belly button. Ultrasound is a common first choice in imaging children with suspicious signs of appendicitis as there is no ionizing radiation used.
Your ultrasound will be performed by a sonographer who will introduce themselves and confirm your identity and the procedure you are having.
First, a gel is applied to the skin over the abdomen so the ultrasound probe can move easily over the surface. During the scan, you will be asked to hold your breath and move into certain positions to allow the sonographer to see your internal organs clearly. Some pressure may be needed to get the best images.
Your images will be looked at by a radiologist who will provide a written report for your doctor. Sometimes, the radiologist will speak to you in person during the examination.
Before your Scan
For males, there is no preparation. Generally, females need a full bladder for the scan. Distension (expansion) of your bladder gives clearer images of the ovaries and other surrounding structures which may also be the cause of pain. Drink one litre of water finishing one hour before your appointment and do not empty your bladder. If you are feeling overly full and it is causing you pain or distress, please tell reception staff on arrival who will talk to you about your options.
For children, please try to drink 200-500mL of water; amount dependent on age.
If possible, wear clothing that allows easy access to the area being scanned, such as two-piece clothing (separate upper/lower garments).
Approximately 20 – 30 minutes.
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