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Ultrasound Services

Ultrasound has been a safe and reliable medical technology and a preferred imaging modality in obstetric and gynecological care for decades.  Ultrasound utilizes sound waves to create precise, multi-dimensional, real-time images of internal organs and other soft tissue. At Women's Health Consultants, our board-certified Perinatologists with specializations in fetal ultrasonography in collaboration with registered diagnostic medical sonographers with certifications in obstetrics/gynecology perform a wide range of obstetrical and gynecological ultrasounds that utilize the latest clinical approaches and state-of-the-art technology, including 3D/4D ultrasound equipment. As a result, our patients benefit from early and accurate diagnoses and cutting-edge clinical treatment of complex prenatal complications as well as routine gynecologic and obstetric care.

Obstetric Ultrasounds

Obstetric ultrasounds use sound waves to produce pictures of a baby (embryo or fetus) within a pregnant woman, as well as the mother's uterus and ovaries.  Obstetrical ultrasounds are commonly used to:

  • estimate the age of the pregnancy

  • evaluate the position of the fetus

  • evaluate the position of the placenta

  • determine if there are multiple pregnancies

  • determine the amount of amniotic fluid around the baby

  • check for opening or shortening of the cervix

  • assess fetal growth and overall well-being

  • 3-D ultrasound may be used to further evaluate the fetus and determine if it is developing normally

  • Doppler ultrasound may be performed in order to evaluate blood flow in the umbilical cord, fetus or placenta

  • diagnose congenital abnormalities of the fetus

Obstetric procedures that utilize ultrasound include:

Sleepy Baby
Sleeping Baby

Gynecologic Ultrasounds   

 

Gynecologic ultrasounds are used to image the cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, vagina, and bladder in the diagnosis of various medical conditions, and to help determine the proper location and viability of an early-stage pregnancy.  A gynecological, or pelvic, ultrasound can be used to:

  • Check the location of an IUD

  • Look for causes of abnormal vaginal bleeding

  • Other menstrual problems

  • Evaluate pelvic or abdominal pain

  • Evaluate couples with infertility

  • Diagnose ectopic pregnancies (pregnancy the is located outside the uterus)

  • Look for the growth of uterine fibroids, ovarian or paraovarian cysts, or tumors in the pelvic organs, ovarian or uterine cancers

 

A pelvic ultrasound may be transabdominal or transvaginal, depending on your specific situation or needs. If you are having a transabdominal ultrasound, your bladder will need to be full so please avoid using the bathroom 1-2 hours before the exam and drink plenty of fluids. If you are having a transvaginal ultrasound, you will need to have an empty bladder. You may feel some discomfort during a transvaginal scan when the transducer is inserted, but for most patients, the procedure is easily tolerated. Generally, transabdominal ultrasounds should be pain-free.

A Doppler ultrasound exam, which may be part of a pelvic ultrasound examination, is a special ultrasound technique that evaluates blood flow through arteries and veins and the movement of other materials in the body. Doppler ultrasound images can help the physician to see and evaluate:

  • blockages to blood flow (such as clots)

  • narrowing of vessels

  • tumors and congenital vascular malformations

  • reduced or absent blood flow to various organs, such as the ovaries

  • increased blood flow, which may be a sign of infection

A transvaginal ultrasound is usually performed to view the endometrium (the lining of the uterus) and the ovaries. Transvaginal ultrasound also evaluates the myometrium (muscular walls of the uterus). Sonohysterography allows for a more in-depth investigation of the uterine cavity. Three-dimensional (3-D) ultrasound permits evaluation of the uterus and ovaries in planes that cannot be imaged directly. These exams are typically performed to detect:

  • uterine anomalies

  • uterine scars

  • endometrial polyps

  • fibroids

  • cancer, especially in patients with abnormal uterine bleeding

 

Some physicians also use 3-D ultrasound or sonohysterography to evaluate the outer contour of the uterus or uterine irregularities in patients with infertility.

Ultrasound FAQs

How should I prepare for my ultrasound?


Please wear a loose-fitting, two-piece outfit for the examination. If you are having a transabdominal ultrasound, your bladder will need to be full so please avoid using the bathroom 1-2 hours before the exam and drink plenty of fluids. If you are having a transvaginal ultrasound, you will need to have an empty bladder.




What equipment is used during an ultrasound?


Ultrasound scanners consist of a computer console, a video display screen, and a transducer, a small hand-held device resembling a microphone that sends out inaudible, high-frequency sound waves into the body and then listens for the returning echoes. A small amount of gel in place on the examination area helps to conduct the transfer of sound waves between the skin and transducer.




How does ultrasound work?


Ultrasound imaging is based on sonar and the principle that a sound wave bounces back or echoes when it strikes an object. By measuring echo waves, it is possible to determine an object's distance, size, shape, and density, and whether the object is solid or filled with fluid. In medical settings, ultrasound is able to detect the appearance of organs, tissues, and vessels, and abnormal masses, such as cysts and tumors. During an ultrasound, a transducer is pressed against the skin and sends tiny pulses of inaudible, high-frequency sound waves into the body. As the sound waves bounce off internal organs, tissues, and fluids, the transducer records tiny changes in the echoes’ pitch and direction, which in turn creates a real-time image on the monitor that may be captured as still images or short video loops.

Doppler, a special application of ultrasound, which processes and makes audible echoes produced by blood flow, can be used to measure and graphically display the direction and speed of blood flow through the fetal heart, blood vessels, and umbilical cord.




What is 3D and 4D Ultrasound, and what additional benefits do they provide?


The most common type of ultrasound scanning is two-dimensional (2D), in which the sonographic image is comprised of thin slices viewed one slice at a time. Although trained ultrasound specialists can learn a great deal of information from 2D images, 3D and 4D Ultrasound can provide more exact, more lifelike, and, many times, more informative results. 3D ultrasound records and stores a series of echoes, and then through shading and other digital techniques produce life-like, three-dimensional images of the fetus. 4D ultrasound utilizes the images produced by 3D technology and adds a dynamic dimension of movement to the output, resulting in life-like moving images of the fetal activity that are not possible with 2D.

Using 4D Ultrasound a fetus can be viewed breathing, smiling, swallowing, yawning, crying, blinking, and moving its fingers and other extremities. Your MFM specialist is able to carefully observe the fetus in real-time and detect a range of structural issues, such as cleft lip and palate, skeletal problems, or limb abnormalities. 3D/4D Ultrasound has the added benefit of enhancing maternal bonding as the expectant mother is able to view lifelike images of their baby in real-time, and in many cases, as a permanent keepsake. The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology do not advocate the use of obstetric ultrasonography without a medical indication.




How are ultrasound procedures performed?


Typically, you will lie face-up on an adjustable exam table and may be turned to either side to improve the quality of ultrasound images. A trained physician or sonographer will apply a water-based gel to the area of the body under examination (in order to improve the conduction of sound waves between your skin and the transducer). The transducer is placed on the body and moved back and forth over the examination area until the desired images are captured.

Transvaginal ultrasounds are usually performed with you lying on your back, possibly with your feet in stirrups similar to a gynecologic exam. A protective cover is placed over the transducer (whose tip is smaller than a typical speculum) and is lubricated with a small amount of gel. The transducer is then inserted approximately two to three inches into the vagina and orientated in order to achieve the best views of the uterus and ovaries.

Once your ultrasound scan is complete, the clear, water-soluble gel will be wiped off your skin.




What will I experience during and after my ultrasound?


Most ultrasound exams are painless, fast, and easily tolerated.

Sometimes during an obstetrical ultrasound, the sonographer may have to press firmly to get closer to the embryo or fetus to better visualize the structures. Any discomfort is usually minimal and temporary. During a transvaginal ultrasound, you may experience minor discomfort as the transducer is inserted into the vagina. During a Doppler ultrasound, you may hear pulse-like sounds as the blood flow is monitored and measured. Ultrasound examinations are usually completed within 30 minutes. Upon completion of your ultrasound, you will be asked to dress and wait for the ultrasound results to be reviewed. You should be able to immediately resume normal activities after your ultrasound examination.




How do I schedule my ultrasound?


Women’s Health Consultants performs comprehensive ultrasound tests right at our facility so you can get fast, accurate, and insightful results. We’ll ensure you fully understand your results and can make the most informed decision for your health with the help of your obstetrician/gynecologist. To schedule an appointment and learn more, contact us by calling us, completing our Request An Appointment Form, or initiate a referral through your obstetrician/gynecologist.





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