What are the advantages and disadvantages of abdominal ultrasonography in the workup of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC)?

Updated: Dec 27, 2017
  • Author: Shelley C Springer, JD, MD, MSc, MBA, FAAP; Chief Editor: Muhammad Aslam, MD  more...
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Abdominal ultrasonography can be helpful when suspected necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) in neonates is evaluated. Advantages include the following:

  • Available at bedside

  • Noninvasive imagery of intra-abdominal structures

Disadvantages of ultrasonography include the following:

  • Limited availability at some medical centers

  • Requires extensive training to discern subtle ultrasonographic appearance of some pathologies

  • Abdominal air (easily observed on ultrasonography and in grossly distended patients) can interfere with assessing intra-abdominal structures.

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