Liver, Bile Ducts, Gall Bladder Ultrasound - Safest And Most Sensitive Imaging Technique

Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to examine and provide images of the liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts. This procedure is considered to be the least expensive, safest, and most sensitive technique for imaging the biliary system, especially the gallbladder. Stones can be detected in the gallbladder or bile ducts.

Transabdominal ultrasound is better for detecting structural abnormalities as compared to diffuse abnormalities. Imaging is essential for diagnosing biliary tract disorders and for focal liver lesions. By conducting ultrasound of the abdomen, one can distinguish whether jaundice is caused by bile duct obstruction or by malfunctioning of liver cell.

For detection of gallstones in the gallbladder, ultrasound is used. Transabdominal ultrasonography has sensitivity of 95 per cent and produces accurate images for gallstones more than 2mm in diameter.
Endoscopic ultrasound is an imaging technique in which a tiny probe is placed on top of an endoscope and is inserted through the mouth to the stomach to capture images of the liver and its surrounding organs.

Endoscopic ultrasonography can also detect stones as small as 0.5 mm in the gallbladder or biliary system. Transabdominal ultrasonography is not an ideal technique to determine the level or cause of biliary obstruction. Transabdominal and endoscopic ultrasonography are used to identify biliary sludge as bile ducts stand out as echo-free tubular structures.

Doppler Ultrasound Is A Special Kind Of Technology That Is Used For The Following Purposes:

  • To examine blood flow in the blood vessels of the liver
  • To detect blockages in the liver's arteries and veins (Especially the portal vein, that  brings blood from the intestine to the liver)
  • To detect the effects of high blood pressure in the portal vein
  • For screening biliary tract abnormalities
  • For evaluating the hepatobiliary tract in patients with right upper quadrant abdominal pain
  • To detect liver masses
This technique is also used as a guidance while needle insertion to obtain a tissues sample for biopsy.

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