Mayo Clinic: Men’s Health Center


An abdominal ultrasound is done to view structures inside the abdomen. For BPH purposes, the kidneys, ureters (tubes that carry urine to the bladder), and bladder are the areas of focus.

Mayo Clinic diagnostic medical sonographer performing an ultrasound

During the procedure

A trained technician (sonographer) usually performs the abdominal ultrasound. The technician applies a small amount of warm gel to your abdomen. The gel works with the ultrasound device, called a transducer, to provide better images.

The sonographer gently presses the transducer against your stomach area, moving it back and forth. The device sends signals to a computer, which creates images that show how blood flows through the structures in your abdomen.

A typical ultrasound exam takes about 30 minutes to complete. It's usually painless. However, you may have some temporary discomfort if the technician presses on an area that is sore or tender.

After the procedure

You should be able to return to normal activities immediately after an abdominal ultrasound.

How to prepare

You typically need to avoid food and drinks (fast) for eight to 12 hours before an abdominal ultrasound. Food and liquids in your stomach (and urine in your bladder) can make it difficult for the technician to get a clear picture of the structures in your abdomen.

Ask your doctor if it's OK to drink water during your fast, and if you should continue to take any medications.

Before the procedure

Before the abdominal ultrasound, you may be asked to change into a hospital gown and to remove any jewelry. You'll be asked to lie on your back on an examination table.

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