What’s that Ultrasound?
Most everyone has at least heard of ultrasound, even if they haven’t been pregnant. Usually it comes in a story from friends about the ultrasound procedure when the parents suddenly discovered the sex of the baby by the presence of tiny penis on the ultrasound. And they didn’t want to know the sex before delivery!
So, even though you’ve heard of ultrasound tests, do you know what ultrasound actually is?
As you would assume from the name, ultrasound is just ordinary sound, but it has a higher frequency than those that the human ear can hear. When this sound is directed into the body through a transducer either resting on the skin or inserted into a body cavity, the sound waves reflect off internal structures. Those returning echoes are received by the transducer and converted by a specialized computer into an image of the internal structures. These images can be viewed on a monitor that resembles a small television monitor.
It’s assumed that ultrasound is mostly used to look at the fetus during pregnancy, but these tests are also important diagnostic tools for problems with the uterus, ovaries, and the entire pelvis. Beyond gynecological uses, ultrasound tests can be used to examine the liver, kidneys, pancreas, spleen, and even the eyes.
There are no harmful effects to the human body from ultrasound.
Why would I need a pelvic ultrasound?
Our doctors at Women’s Health Medical Group can only do so much with a typical pelvic exam alone. A pelvic ultrasound lets the doctor and patient visualize the uterus and ovaries. A patient having pelvic pain, abnormal vaginal bleeding, or a suspicion of abnormality from the manual pelvic exam would dictate this type of ultrasound test.
Abdominal or vaginal ultrasound
Depending on the area that the doctor wants to examine, an ultrasound may be abdominal or vaginal, sometimes both. In an abdominal ultrasound, the transducer is placed on the patient’s abdomen. A small amount of gel is placed there to ensure good contact with the transducer to provide the best images. An abdominal ultrasound delivers a more panoramic view of the entire pelvis. In a vaginal ultrasound, the transducer is inserted into the vagina, not unlike the way a tampon is inserted. This type of ultrasound often provides improved visualization because the transducer is closer to the area being examined. Sometimes, both methods may be employed for our doctors to see everything they feel is necessary.
Do you have additional questions about the use of ultrasound testing at Women’s Health Medical Group? Call us at (817) 346-5336.