The Role of Abdomen Ultrasounds for Treating Obesity

The growth of Australia’s obesity rate over the years is cause for concern. Diet and lifestyle changes have been up for discussion and overtime, certain medical procedures that help with the early intervention for obesity have also been explored. One, in particular, is an abdominal ultrasound which can help in the early detection of metabolic syndrome.  

What Is an Abdominal Ultrasound? 

An abdominal ultrasound is a type of imaging test that is done to check and monitor organs in the abdomen such as the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, and kidneys. It can also be used to check and examine the blood vessels leading to these organs. An abdominal ultrasound uses sound waves to produce pictures of the structures within the upper abdomen. It is used to help diagnose pain or distention (enlargement) and evaluate the kidneys, liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, pancreas, spleen and abdominal aorta. Ultrasound is a safe, noninvasive procedure and does not use ionizing radiation.

Normal, moderate, severe fatty liver (Image source: Macquarie Medical Imaging)

The Use of Abdominal Ultrasound in Obesity  

Abdominal obesity is a leading factor in metabolic syndrome. It is when excessive abdominal fat around the stomach and abdomen has built up which can cause problems with other organ functions and impair your overall health.  

Aside from intervention and weight loss being crucial to reversing obesity and reducing the mortality of metabolic syndrome, detecting the complications that come with it are also useful. 

Recent advances in the area of imaging have brought new insight into the development of abdominal obesity and can help look into how it can lead to organ injuries. Through an abdominal ultrasound, early detection and monitoring can be done to check on organ injury and work on an appropriate therapy needed to stop them. 

New research also shows that measuring abdominal muscle thickness via ultrasound can be used to detect a high risk for metabolic syndrome in obese patients as well. 

Normal and fatty pancreas (Image source: Macquarie Medical Imaging)

Why Your Doctor May Have Referred you

Obesity can lead to enlarged organs with fatty infiltrations which can reduce their function. Because an abdominal ultrasound can scan and take black and white images of the internal structures of your abdomen, your doctor may refer an abdominal ultrasound to check for any abnormalities with your appendix, intestines, liver, gall bladder, spleen, pancreas, urinary bladder, and kidneys. Your doctor will also check your abdominal ultrasound results for any abdominal thickness which can be a precursor for metabolic syndrome. 

An abdominal ultrasound is also needed for patients who have been advised to start taking diabetic or weight loss medication because the presence of gallstones can cause problems and may even worsen their condition. It can also help your doctor evaluate the cause for other health problems such as any stomach pain, bloating, kidney stones, liver disease, tumours, and other conditions.

How Does the Procedure Work? 

A sonographer performs the abdominal ultrasound. They apply a small amount of gel to your abdomen and work with the ultrasound device called a transducer, moving it back and forth to provide good quality images. The transducer sends signals to a computer which creates the images and monitors the blood flow through the internal structures in your abdomen. Abdominal ultrasounds are painless and can be completed within 30 minutes.

Trusted Ultrasound Imaging Through MMI

Macquarie Medical Imaging is your trusted medical imaging partner, giving you accurate, research-grade medical imaging and interpretation for the early intervention of obesity and metabolic syndrome and other health conditions that could affect your way of life. 

If your doctor has advised you to undergo an abdominal ultrasound, look no further than MMI. Make an appointment with us today. 


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