Performing an ultrasound examination of the pancreas

Understand the process of pancreatic ultrasound from start to finish and know what to look for.

Nikolaus Mayr, MD
Nikolaus Mayr, MD
14th Nov 2017 • 2m read

Embark on an ultrasound journey through the pancreas with Dr Nikolaus Mayr. In this step-by-step video, you'll learn the process of pancreatic ultrasound from start to finish and what exactly to look for.

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Video Transcript

[00:00:00] Now, I'm going to show you the standard ultrasound of the pancreas. The pancreas lies in a diagonal position in the body. We use ultrasound gel on the epigastrium and the curved array probe. I will tell the patient to press out his body, to make a round tummy. What we see here is the stomach, the left liver lobe, the right

[00:00:30] liver lobe, the interlobar fissure, and then you can see the structure right behind the stomach, which is the pancreas body. When I position the probe like this, in this position, I can see the pancreas tail, going back the pancreas body in the front and when I move a little bit more to the patient's right side and downward, I can see the pancreas head. As a leading structure for the pancreas, always use the splenic

[00:01:00] vein coming in from the back, to join the mesenteric vein coming from the caudal part of the body, to produce the portal vein in the center of the liver. Now, when I go into a 90 degrees position, with the probe, I can also evaluate the pancreas in a cross-section, as a long section and through the body. I can see the pancreas

[00:01:30] body right behind the stomach. I can move the probe more to the patient's right side to see the pancreas head, right around here. I can move the probe more to the left side of the patient and I can see that the vein, the splenic vein, and the splenic artery, which is more cranial to it, go back and with this, the pancreas tail goes back to the

[00:02:00] spleen hilum. Sometimes, you have a lot of gassing in the stomach and you can't see the pancreas body and tail, you will use a splenic window, like this. You will try to find the splenic vein and the structure right

[00:02:30] caudally of it. Hold your breath. Exhale again, just hold it. And the structure right caudally of it will be the pancreas tail going right through the splenic hilum.