Ultrasound is very sensitive in differentiating normal from abnormal. In very few cases, however, is the ultrasound image of a lesion or suspected lesion diagnostic alone. In most cases other information such as radiographs, laboratory work and fine needle aspirates obtained during the ultrasound exam are combined with the ultrasound images to narrow the list of differentials.
When a tissue sample is needed, fine needle aspirates are performed.
Pregnancy exams, cystocentesis and echocardiograms on unstable patients are generally done without sedation or anesthesia. Sedation/anesthesia may or may not be advisable or necessary for abdominal exams depending on the need for motion control, the patient’s temperament, the presence of painful conditions, the number of assistants available and other factors.
There is increased risk in an effort to drain a suspected internal abscess. Generally, attempts to obtain a histopathological diagnosis of suspected bladder tumors with a FNA are not rewarding. Cystoscopy, traumatic catheterization, or biopsy through a cystoscope are recommended instead.