Ultrasound is energy in the form of sound waves that are sent through the body by a transducer. The sound waves hit tissues, body fluids, and bones and then bounce back, like echoes. The transducer receives these echoes and converts them into images of internal organs and – during pregnancy – the fetus. Ultrasound can be used to diagnose and monitor certain problems such as pelvic masses, breast lumps, abnormal bleeding, pelvic pain or infertility. It can also be used in pregnancy to monitor the fetus.
The most common type of ultrasound is called two-dimensional (2D). Specialized types of ultrasounds include Doppler ultrasound, three-dimensional and four- dimensional (3D and 4D), and sonohystersography.
IGO performs ultrasound examinations in the office. The exam may be performed by a registered diagnostic medical sonographer or by your physician or nurse practitioner.
Ultrasound Use in Gynecology
Ultrasound is used in gynecology to diagnose or monitor pelvic masses like fibroids and ovarian cysts, determine the reason for abnormal bleeding or pelvic pain, look for causes of infertility and monitor infertility treatment.
Most gynecologic ultrasounds are performed transvaginally. Occasionally, better images are obtained transabdominally. In a transvaginal scan, a sterilized transducer shaped like a wand and covered with a sheath is inserted into the vagina. Since the transducer is very close to the pelvic organs, the images obtained are very clear and optimal for interpretation. Our technologists are very sensitive to your needs and will explain the procedure to you. In a transabdominal ultrasound, the transducer is placed on the skin on the lower abdomen. You will be asked to drink 30 ounces of water in the two hours before the procedure. Sounds waves travel better through water than air, so the images obtained will be easier to interpret.
Sonohysterography is used to look for problems within the uterus, often as part of an infertility exam. During the procedure, a small thin tube is inserted into the cervix. A saline solution is injected through the catheter into the uterus. The saline makes the inside of the uterus easier to see. Your doctor will have the results immediately.
Ultrasound use in Obstetrics
Obstetric ultrasounds are done to confirm intrauterine pregnancy and fetal heart motion, to check for fetal size and dates during pregnancy, to carefully check fetal growth and development and to look for fetal anomalies and to facilitate amniocentesis to remove an amniotic fluid sample to test for genetic and metabolic abnormalities.