This book is a self-study guide, designed to enable you to begin scanning a live subject right away, without any prior theoretical knowledge of ultrasonography. Different readers will have different degrees of experience with ultrasound. Therefore the book is structured so that you can access the material at your own level of knowledge and experience. Because the book is practiceoriented, less emphasis is placed on physical and technical details, which are basically limited to the following three questions:
- Who do you examine first when learning ultrasound?
- How do you adjust the ultrasound machine?
- What can you do with the transducer?
After addressing these questions, we will cover the practical aspects of performing an upper abdominal ultrasound examination according to a standardized routine. The protocol for examining the major abdominal organs— the liver, gallbladder, pancreas, kidneys, spleen, vena cava, and aorta—proceeds from the simple to the more complex:
First, you locate the organ of interest and demonstrate it in its entirety.
Second, you define the organ details. Third, you evaluate the relations of the organ to surrounding structures.
In theory, then, there are two basic strategies for scanning the upper abdomen:
Organ-oriented: an organ or structure is identified, scrutinized, and evaluated in relation to surrounding structures.
Level-oriented: the abdominal organs are examined as a whole, proceeding in steps. First, all of the abdominal organs are successively located and surveyed. Next the organ details are defined, and finally the interrelationships
of all the organs are evaluated.
In practice, you will generally apply a combination of both strategies. But in all cases you will learn to follow a structured, step-by-step protocol that is the essence of systematic upper abdominal ultrasound. Smaller organs and structures of the upper abdomen will be covered in a less formalized way: the stomach, duodenum, porta hepatis, and adrenal glands.