The advent of grey-scale ultrasound has made this facility an irreplaceable tool for diagnostic imaging techniques. Although well established in obstetric management, its application to abdominal "body" scanning is not yet fully realized and accepted. These case presentations demonstrate the role of ultrasound in the diagnosis, localization and clinical management of patients with intra-abdominal sepsis. It is emphasized that ultrasound should be used early in the work-up of such problems and is rapidly becoming the investigation of choice. The diagnostic information provided facilitates management, reduces the need for complex investigations and occasionally makes surgery unnecessary.