Indications for abdominal imaging: When and what to choose?

Cosmin Caraiani1, Dong Yi2, Bianca Petresc1, Christoph Dietrich3,4

Affiliation and address for correspondence
J Ultrason 2020; 20: e43–e54
DOI: 10.15557/JoU.2020.0008
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Imaging has a very important role in evaluating abdominal pathology. A good knowledge of indications is of crucial importance in the management of the patient with abdominal pathology. Ultrasound, which on its own can lead to an accurate diagnosis, plays a pivotal role in the management of abdominal pathology. The use of ultrasound contrast agents has significantly improved ultrasound diagnostic capacities in both hepatic and non-hepatic pathology. The use of computed tomography should be limited due to the potential harmful side effects of ionizing radiation, but it has established roles in evaluating severe abdominal traumatic and non-traumatic emergencies as well as in staging oncologic patients. Magnetic resonance imaging has very limited utility in abdominal emergencies due to difficulty of accessing the scanner and the long duration of the examination compared to computed tomography or ultrasound. However, magnetic resonance imaging has well-established clinical roles particularly for evaluating diffuse or focal hepatic pathology, benign and malignant bile duct pathology, pancreatic tumors, inflammatory bowel disease and rectal tumors. The aims of the following paper are to familiarize the clinician with the indications for imaging in abdominal pathology, to guide the clinician and radiologist in choosing the correct technique for a particular clinical situation, to prevent the overuse of imaging techniques and to prevent misdiagnosis of disease and incorrect therapy resulting from inappropriate imaging.

guidelines, point of care, ultrasound, computed tomography, magnetic resonance imaging