Most health screening programs at international hospitals, especially ones in Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore, include an abdominal ultrasound. This is a key test of the health screening program and an important element in preventative health.
The abdominal ultrasound collects images of the organs of the abdomen or upper belly. It is a harmless test since it uses sound waves to create images. The radiologist applies a gel to the abdomen and rubs a handheld device across the gelled areas to create the images.
The organs and body structures that are checked include the liver, gallbladder, spleen, pancreas, and kidneys. The test also checks the abdominal aorta which is the main blood vessel that supplies blood to the lower part of the body and legs.
The test can identify aberrations which may signal the onset of disease or other health problems including tumors. It may find gallstones, inflammation, or polyps in the gall bladder. It checks the healthy of the liver by looking at its size and shape. It may find an enlarged spleen or find problems with the pancreas. It may also identify an aneurysm of abdominal aorta.
All of these conditions can result in pain around the belly, so this should be discussed before the test with the radiologist so that he or she can focus on that area if pain is felt. During the test the patient simply lies on their back and may be able to watch the monitor as well.
Because many illnesses can be discovered easily by imaging the organs with the ultrasound, this test has so much value when done on a regular basis. Many physicals in the U.S. may not include this test so it is a benefit when visiting an international city with top hospitals which provide this test to have it done.