Retroperitoneal Ultrasound

A retroperitoneal ultrasound is a diagnostic test used to examine the area behind the intestines and other abdominal organs. It allows doctors to view the patient's kidneys and ureters and can help diagnose a number of conditions, such as renal cysts or gallstones. This procedure is painless and relatively quick.

Reasons for a Retroperitoneal Ultrasound

A retroperitoneal ultrasound can help diagnose:

  • Aneurysm in the lower aorta
  • Cancer of the rectum or kidneys
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Renal cysts
  • Gallstones
  • Kidney stones
  • Pancreatitis
  • Appendicitis

This procedure can also be helpful for evaluating renal transplants.

The Retroperitoneal Ultrasound Procedure

On the day of the retroperitoneal ultrasound, the patient should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. The patient may be asked to change into a gown before the procedure begins.

Usually, the patient will be asked to drink several glasses of water before the retroperitoneal ultrasound, to aid with visibility of the kidneys, bladder, and other organs..

When the retroperitoneal ultrasound begins, the patient will lie down on a table. A cool gel will be applied to the patient's abdomen. The technician will then press down on the abdomen with a transducer, a small hand-held device, and move it back and forth to capture images of the internal organs. The images are transmitted to a nearby monitor for immediate viewing. The process is largely painless, but if the area to be imaged was tender beforehand then some discomfort may occur.

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