Ultrasound imaging is commonly used to help physicians diagnose and treat conditions of the gallbladder and other organs within the abdomen. Unlike other ionizing-type wave imaging systems, ultrasound is captured in real time, allowing both the technician and patient to view the results immediately. An ultrasound of the gallbladder may be performed to detect cholecystitis, the inflammation of the gallbladder, gallstones, or blocked bile ducts.
To prepare for a gallbladder ultrasound, patients should avoid eating foods that contain fat for approximately 12 to 18 hours before the examination.
During a gallbladder ultrasound, a soft gel is spread across the abdomen, which will help the sound waves travel between the machine and the body. While the imaging process is completely painless, discomfort may be experienced in the area that is to be imaged, especially if it was tender beforehand. There is no downtime after a gallbladder ultrasound and unless advised by the physician, regular activities can be resumed immediately afterwards.