Upper Abdominal Ultrasound
Rejuvence
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Rejuvence
4.7
powered by Google

For interest free credit with ZIP please call us on 0207 531 6600

An upper abdominal ultrasound is performed to have a look at the liver, gall bladder, spleen and pancreas. It can also be used to get a quick look at the base of the lungs as well as a ‘subcostal’ view of the heart. This scan also includes a quick view of the aorta (main artery supplying organs of the abdomen and lower limbs) as well as the inferior vena cava (main vein returning blood from the organs of the abdomen and lower limbs).

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Common conditions

An upper abdominal ultrasound scan is useful in evaluating the following conditions:

  • What are Gallstones?
    Gallstones are particles that have formed from bile, cholesterol and bilirubin into hard “stones” in the gallbladder. 
  • How common is it?
    Of all digestive problems, gallstones are the most common.
  • Does it affect males and females?
    Between 65%-75% of gallstones are found in women.
  • What age groups?
    Gallstones can be found at any age but are most commonly found in people aged 40-60.
  • What are the main symptoms?
    Though most people won’t feel any symptoms, there are many symptoms that are hard to ignore such as: severe and sudden pain in the upper right abdomen, sometimes even reaching up to the upper back, fever and shivering, severe nausea or vomiting, and jaundice (the skin and eyes turn slightly yellow). Dark urine and clay-colored stools can also be a sign. Pain often worsens after eating.
  • How is it tested for?
    There are many tests and procedures that can be done to diagnose gallstones such as: abdominal ultrasound, endoscopic ultrasound, blood tests (for infections, jaundice, pancreatitis or other issues caused by gallstones), oral cholecystography, HIDA scan (hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid) CT scan, MRCP (magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography) or ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography).
  • Is there a cure?
    There is no known cure for gallstones, however there are many different forms of treatment that can remove them.
  • How is it treated?
    Doctors may recommend removing the gallbladder entirely to avoid recurring gallstones in people who experience frequent gallstones or gallbladder issues.
    There are also medications that can be taken to dissolve gallstones. These medications may take months to years of treatment in order to fully dissolve the gallstones.
  • What is Liver Cirrhosis?
    Liver cirrhosis is a late stage of scarring in the liver. The scarring happens each time your liver is injured and tries to repair itself. It can be life-threatening. 
  • How common is it?
    Liver cirrhosis is a common disease and affects over 633,000 adults in the United States.
  • Does it affect males and females?
    Men are twice as likely to be affected by liver cirrhosis.
  • What age groups?
    Most commonly liver cirrhosis develops in people between the ages of 30-40 who have alcohol abuse issues.
  • What are the main symptoms?
    When the liver is heavily damaged symptoms may include: fatigue, easy bruising and bleeding, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, swelling in the legs and feet, weight loss, itchy skin, jaundice, fluid accumulation in the abdomen (ascites), and varices. Less commonly symptoms might include: loss of periods that aren’t related to menopause; breast enlargement, testicular atrophy (shrinking) and a loss of sex drive in men.
  • How is it tested for?
    The diagnosis can be performed through CT scan, MRI or ultrasound, followed by a needle biopsy of the liver.
  • Is there a cure?
    There is no known cure for liver cirrhosis.
  • How is it treated?
    If alcohol abuse is the cause, the best treatment is to stop drinking. For hepatitis C treatment can include antiviral medication and immune system boosters. For varices your doctor may perform a procedure to tie a band around them in order to stop the bleeding (band litigation). In ascites, diuretics might be prescribed to get rid of the excessive fluids. In liver cancer the only option is surgery to remove the liver, radiation treatment or chemotherapy.
  • What are liver cysts?
    Abnormal thin-walled sacs that are filled with liquid formed in the liver. Generally speaking, they are benign growths that are not cancerous. 
  • How common is it?
    Liver cysts aren’t very common; occurring in about 5% of the population. Only about 5% of those who develop liver cysts show any symptoms.
  • Does it affect males and females?
    Women are more likely to develop liver cysts than men.
  • What age groups?
    There isn’t a particular age group; they can be present when a person is born or develop later on in life.
  • What are the main symptoms?
    A patient may experience upper abdominal fullness, or some pain and discomfort. In other cases, a person may feel sudden or severe right sided abdominal pain and pain in the shoulder if the patient is bleeding into the cysts. The bleeding will usually stop on its own and the pain improves over a few days.
  • How is it tested for?
    Testing for liver cysts is done through an ultrasound or CT scan.
  • Is there a cure?
    Most often liver cysts require no treatment as they do not affect the functioning capabilities of the liver or cause any discomfort. However, if there is discomfort, they might need to be drained or a portion of the cyst wall can be removed.
  • How is it treated?
    The most common treatment for liver cysts is a simple surgical procedure done through key-hole surgery. This requires about 2-3 small incisions and a night in the hospital. A large portion of the cyst wall is removed in the procedure and most patients can expect a full recovery within 2 weeks.
  • What is Portal Hypertension?
    Portal hypertension is an increase in the blood pressure within the portal venous system. These are the veins that come from the stomach, intestines, spleen and pancreas and merge together to form the portal vein. The portal vein runs through the liver. 
  • How common is it?
    Portal hypertension is most common in those with cirrhosis of the liver and gallbladder issues.
  • Does it affect males and females?
    Portal Hypertension more commonly affects men.
  • What age groups?
    It affects patients between the ages of 30-60 but can continue showing signs later in life as well.
  • What are the main symptoms?
    Gastrointestinal bleeding can be one of the signs, causing black, tarry stools or the presence of blood in the stools; blood in vomit from the sudden rupturing and bleeding from varices (dilated blood vessels in the stomach and/or oesophagus); accumulated fluids in the abdomen, confusion or forgetfulness – caused when the liver is failing to function properly. A patient may also show reduced platelet levels or white blood cell count.
  • How is it tested for?
    Doppler Ultrasound can be used to identify portal hypertension. This can be confirmed with further blood tests and an endoscopy.
  • Is there a cure?
    There is no known cure for portal hypertension.
  • How is it treated?
    There are few treatments available for portal hypertension. The aim of treatment is symptom control using a combination of medicines and stents inserted endoscopically to improve blood flow through the portal venous system.
  • What is an Enlarged Spleen?
    Also known as splenomegaly it occurs when the spleen becomes enlarged. This can be due to a number of conditions such as: hepatitis B or C, fatty liver, chronic alcohol abuse, blood cancers, abnormal blood flow, blood cell disorders and autoimmune diseases (e.g. lupus and rheumatoid arthritis). 
  • How common is it?
    It can be a common condition and it’s also more likely to develop in people who live or visit areas of the world where malaria is common.
  • Does it affect males and females?
    Splenomegaly can occur in anyone regardless of gender.
  • What age groups?
    Though the condition can affect anyone, children and young adults are more susceptible to developing an enlarged spleen if they have an infection such as glandular fever.
  • What are the main symptoms?
    In some cases a patient could show no signs of splenomegaly. Others may experience pain or a feeling of fullness in the upper left abdomen which can spread to the left shoulder. It can also cause anaemia, fatigue, increased susceptibility to infections as well as bruising.
  • How is it tested for?
    A physical examination of the abdomen may reveal fullness in the left side just below the rib cage. Ultrasound will often clearly show an enlarged spleen.
  • Is there a cure?
    If the enlarged spleen is caused by an infection, antibiotics may cure the issue.
  • How is it treated?
    In simple conditions, resolution of infections will result in the spleen returning to normal. Doctors may recommend removing the spleen entirely in a procedure called a splenectomy if the issue is more serious.

OUR RADIOLOGIST

Dr Ali Zaman

MBBS FRCR MPharm PGCert

All ultrasound scans at Rejuvence Medical are carried out by our Consultant Radiologist – Dr Ali Zaman. Dr Zaman graduated from Barts and The London Medical School in 2009. He has also obtained a Masters degree in Pharmacology. After completing his training in General Medicine and Surgery, he pursued specialty training in Radiology obtaining his Fellowship in Radiology (FRCR).  Dr Zaman subsequently followed this up with the prestigious European Board of Interventional Radiology Fellowship and trained as a fellow in Interventional Radiology at the Royal London Hospital. 

Dr Zaman is currently a Consultant Interventional Radiologist at Mid and South Essex University Hospitals. He is an expert in ultrasound and ultrasound guided interventions, having performed thousands of such tests and procedures.

We are overwhelmed to have Dr Zaman as a member of our team at Rejuvence Medical.

Risks

Abdominal ultrasound is a safe procedure and has no known risks.

How to prepare

Ideally you should avoid food and drink for 8 hours prior to your scan. We understand that this may of course not be very practical especially if you are coming from work. Therefore, if possible please try to skip lunch. Food and liquids in your stomach can make it difficult for the sonographer to generate clear images. In general you should continue to take your regular medication. 

What you can expect

Before the procedure
Before your ultrasound, you may be asked to change into a gown and to remove any jewellery. You will be asked to lie on your back.
During the procedure

Our Consultant Radiologist will perform your scan. A small amount of ultrasound gel is applied to your abdomen. The gel enables the ultrasound device to provide better images.

The radiologist will gently press an ultrasound probe against your tummy, moving it back and forth. A standard ultrasound scan takes around 20 minutes to complete. It’s usually painless. However, it is not uncommon to experience some discomfort if radiologist is required to press down on areas where you may have some pain. We always try to ensure you are comfortable at all times.

After the procedure
You will be able to return to normal activities immediately after your scan.

Results

The radiologist will prepare a written report immediately after your scan. You can wait for the written report and should you wish, a copy of your scan images can be sent to you via email so you have them to hand at all times.

Follow up with Rejuvence Medical

We always recommend booking in a consultation immediately after your scan with one of our doctors to discuss the results of your scan and to provide advice regarding any further investigations and/or treatment. Further investigations and treatment can include:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine dipstick
  • Referral to a specialist (Private/NHS*)
  • Referral for further imaging (CT/MRI)

* Please note that for referrals back to NHS you will still have to go via your GP but Rejuvence Medical will provide a full report and cover letter in support of the referral. 

Alternative medical providers

We are connected to NHS digital and the PACS framework. Should you wish your scan images can be sent directly to your NHS GP or hospital consultant. If you have been referred by a private medical practitioner, with your consent, your results will be securely emailed through to them. 

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