Why You May Need a Full Bladder for that Ultrasound
- Posted on: Dec 15 2017
Diagnostic imaging allows doctors to observe internal structures without having to operate on the body. The advances made in imaging have been significant in aiding accurate diagnoses and treatment protocols, which is advantageous for doctors and their patients. At the same time, being the patient who needs a test such as an ultrasound, you may feel unnerved by certain guidelines. Here, we want to discuss the reasons why your doctor may advise you to arrive for your ultrasound with a full bladder.
How Ultrasound Works
Ultrasound imaging creates images of internal organs and structures by emitting sound waves through tissue. The abdomen is a common area on which ultrasound is performed. When sound waves move through the body, they “hit” different mediums, such as fluid and air, differently. A full bladder creates a reservoir of fluid that enhances the movement of sound waves through the abdominal cavity. This creates a clearer view of the structures that need to be observed.
The Case for a Full Bladder
Fortunately, there are only a few instances of ultrasound imaging in which a full bladder is necessary:
- Renal ultrasound, or KUB ultrasound. This diagnostic test is performed to observe the kidneys and the urinary bladder. This ultrasound will also observe the seminal vesicles and prostate gland in men, and the ureters in women. The purpose of this test is to identify abnormalities in the urinary tract such as kidney stones, cysts, or tumors. Because bladder volume is measured by a renal ultrasound, it is necessary to drink plenty of water before imaging.
- Early-stage pregnancy ultrasound. When the bladder is full, the pelvic organs are easier to visualize in detail. Before week 24 of pregnancy, there is insufficient amniotic fluid to obtain the clarity needed.
In some cases, a full bladder accentuates the visibility during ultrasound imaging. In other cases, it may distort the image we need to obtain. When your doctor recommends ultrasound, the need for a full bladder may be discussed. However, if you are unsure, please contact us before your appointment. Call our Houston office at 713.874.0111 or our Humble office at 281.358.3800. We are happy to assist you in making your ultrasound as comfortable and efficient as possible.
Posted in: Ultrasound