Why do You need Full Bladder for abdominal Ultrasound?

Ultrasound imaging allows doctors to examine internal structures without actually operating/looking into the body. These advances made in imaging have been significant in helping accurate diagnoses and treatment protocols, which is advantageous for doctors and the patients.

At the same time, being the patient who needs a test such as an abdominal / KUB ultrasound, certain guidelines need to be followed, one of them includes full bladder.

Ultrasound imaging creates images of internal organs and structures by emitting sound waves through tissues. The abdomen is a common area on which ultrasound is performed. When sound waves move through the body, they “hit” different mediums, such as fluid and air, differently. A full bladder acts as a reservoir of fluid that enhances the movement of sound waves through the abdominal cavity. This creates a clearer view of the internal structures that need to be observed.

Full bladder is required in KUB and Abdominal ultrasounds which includes evaluating the kidneys and bladder. Full bladder is specifically required

  • To look for prostate gland and the distal ends of ureters in men, The purpose of this test is to identify abnormalities in the urinary tract such as kidney / ureteric stones, or mass lesions. To evaluate any prostate enlargement in males .
  • To evaluate distal ends of ureters along with uterus and ovaries in women to evaluate for any distal ureteric stones .
  • In cases of Urinary tract infections / to evaluate any bladder mass / stones, full bladder is indicated.
  • To evaluate post void residual volume, bladder volume is measured in the full bladder state and after voiding the urine.
  • Full bladder may be required in certain pregnancy ultrasounds specially in early pregnancy when TVS can’t be done, full bladder is advised as the pelvic organs are easier to visualize in detail.

In some cases, a full bladder accentuates the visibility during ultrasound imaging. In other cases, it may distort the image we need to obtain.

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