The appendix is a fingerlike pouch attached to the large intestine and located in the lower right area of the abdomen. Infection of the appendix can cause it to swell and become painful (appendicitis).
Appendicitis may be suspected if you have pain in you lower right abdomen. Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to identify and examine the appendix and Doppler ultrasound to assess the blood flow in this organ. Gas in the bowel adjacent to the appendix may prevent the appendix being seen by ultrasound in 15% of cases, even though the appendix may be inflamed.
You will not be required to change for the appendix ultrasound, but you will be asked during the examination to lower your trousers/skirt slightly, or to raise your shirt or top to the level of the chest. A clear gel will be applied to your skin during the study, this is to enable the ultrasound to penetrate the skin layer.
You will lie on your back at the beginning of the examination, while the appendix is assessed. The sonographer will apply firm pressure to this region to improve imaging of the appendix and to demonstrate that the appendix does not compress.
During this study your bladder, the flow of urine into the bladder from the right kidney and the left kidney will also be assessed. This is to exclude a kidney stone, which can also cause pain in the lower right abdomen.