ULTRASOUND IMAGES OF GASTROINTESTINAL (GI) TRACT

Contrast radiographic investigations, including CT, are generally accepted as the methods of choice for
investigating diseases of the GI tract. Although ultrasound is not considered a primary tool in the investigation
of bowel lesions, as the gas-filled lumen makes visualization difficult in many cases, ultrasound is remarkably successful in diagnosing GI tract pathology in the hands of an experienced operator.
GI tract ultrasound can be time-consuming,but a wealth of information can be obtained with a high-frequency linear probe in a symptomatic patient. Considerable diagnostic benefit has been shown for careful, targeted, percutaneous ultrasound of the large and small GI tract using high-frequency transducers.
It is important to be aware of the variable ultrasound appearances of normal bowel, as it may be responsible for mimicking other pathology.
Normal bowel is frequently difficult to examine on ultrasound as the gas-filled lumen reflects the sound, requiring careful compression techniques. Abnormal bowel is particularly accessible to ultrasound, however. A fluid-filled lumen also make easy the demonstration of valvulae conniventes of the small bowel and haustra of the large colon.
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