Spleen Ultrasonography (Spleen Echogram, Spleen Ultrasound)

Norm of Spleen Ultrasonography (Spleen Echogram, Spleen Ultrasound)

Proper size, shape, and position of the spleen. Negative for abscess, cyst, tumor, or splenomegaly. Spleen tissue stipples with fine, homogeneous, low-level echoes. Spleen is not visualized until the transducer reaches 9–11 cm above the umbilicus.


Usage of Spleen Ultrasonography (Spleen Echogram, Spleen Ultrasound)

Assessment of status after trauma; detection or differentiation of splenic abnormalities such as abscess or cyst; ongoing monitoring of the spleen during medical therapy; guidance for splenic needle biopsy.


Description of Spleen Ultrasonography (Spleen Echogram, Spleen Ultrasound)

Evaluation of the spleen's size, shape, and position by the creation of an oscilloscopic picture from the echoes of high-frequency sound waves passing over the abdominal area (acoustic imaging). The time required for the ultrasonic beam to be reflected back to the transducer from differing densities of tissue is converted by a computer to an electrical impulse displayed on an oscilloscopic screen to create a three-dimensional picture of the spleen. The echomorphology of splenic lesions assists in the diagnosis of the lesion and can be described as isoechogenic, hyperechogenic, hypoechogenic, or complex in comparison to the normal spleen echogenicity. The differing tissue densities of specific lesions assists in the diagnosis of the lesion. However, spleen ultrasonography cannot definitively localize a splenic tumor because of close proximity of other organs in the area.


Professional Considerations of Spleen Ultrasonography (Spleen Echogram, Spleen Ultrasound)

Consent form NOT required.

  1. This test should be performed before intestinal barium tests or after the barium is cleared from the system.
  2. Obtain ultrasonic gel or paste.
  3. See Client and Family Teaching.



  1. The client is positioned supine in a bed or on a procedure table.
  2. The skin overlying the spleen is covered with ultrasonic gel, and a lubricated transducer is passed slowly and firmly over the left upper quadrant of the abdomen at various angles and at specific intervals 1–2 cm apart. The transducer is passed between rather than over the ribs. This may be performed with the client in several positions. The right lateral decubitus position provides the best information. Higher-frequency linear ultrasound probes are selected for clients who are thin.
  3. Photographs are taken of the oscilloscopic display.


Postprocedure Care

  1. Wipe the ultrasonic gel from the skin.


Client and Family Teaching

  1. Fast from food and fluids overnight (when possible), and abstain from smoking for several hours before the test.
  2. The procedure is painless and carries no risks.
  3. The procedure takes less than 30 minutes.


Factors That Affect Results

  1. Dehydration interferes with adequate contrast between organs and body fluids.
  2. Intestinal barium, food, or gas (particularly in the supine position) obscures the results by preventing the proper transmission and deflection of the high-frequency sound waves.


Other Data

  1. Further testing may include computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging.