Abdominal wall sonography: a pictorial review

J Ultrasound. 2020 Sep;23(3):265-278. doi: 10.1007/s40477-020-00435-0. Epub 2020 Mar 3.


The anterior abdominal wall, which is composed of three layers (skin and adipose tissues; the myofascial layer; and the deep layer, consisting of the transversalis fascia, preperitoneal fat, and the parietal peritoneum), has many functions: containment, support and protection for the intraperitoneal contents, and involvement in movement and breathing. While hernias are often encountered and well reviewed in the literature, the other abdominal wall pathologies are less commonly described. In this pictorial review, we briefly discuss the normal anatomy of the anterior abdominal wall, describe the normal ultrasonographic anatomy, and present a wide range of pathologic abnormalities beyond hernias. Sonography emerges as the diagnostic imaging of first choice for assessing abdominal wall disorders, thus representing a valuable tool for ensuring appropriate management and limiting functional impairment.

Keywords: Abdominal wall; Abdominal wall sonography; Sonography.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Muscles / diagnostic imaging
  • Abdominal Muscles / injuries*
  • Abdominal Muscles / pathology*
  • Abdominal Wall / anatomy & histology*
  • Abdominal Wall / diagnostic imaging
  • Atrophy
  • Diastasis, Muscle / diagnostic imaging
  • Endometriosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Hernia, Abdominal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Ultrasonography / methods*