The Uses for Pelvic Ultrasound for Women
In the medical world, there are many different technologies and tools that doctors use to help patients, including medicines, x-rays, and diagnostic equipment. Diagnostic equipment is the first line of defense. Doctors and nurses use it to determine what is wrong with a patient. When patients come in and describe symptoms, the description alone may not provide enough information. At that point, the doctor will order a series of exams or blood draws to solve the mystery. One of the best weapons in the arsenal is the ultrasound machine. Sonographers use the ultrasound machine to examine the internal organs, muscles, and tendons of a patient without having to make an incision. A pelvic ultrasound is a completely noninvasive procedure, and the patient feels no pain. Different kinds of ultrasounds focus on various parts of the body for men and women. Here we will discuss the uses for pelvic ultrasound for women.
What’s an Ultrasound Used For?
Diagnostics is an umbrella term that applies to the ultrasound machine. It’s used to diagnose patients suffering from a wide variety of ailments and diseases. Using the ultrasound machine doctors can find out what is wrong with a patient in a noninvasive way, meaning they can see inside the patient without having to make an incision. Doctors can see tumors, muscle strains, and all the internal organs and bones of patients. Advances in imaging technology have made the images far more detailed than in the past. The first images were in black and white, fuzzy, and difficult to see. Because the images were unclear, sonographers and doctors had to rely more on their knowledge of human anatomy to determine and diagnose what they were looking at. Now, with 3D and 4D imaging, they can see small details that were hidden previously. This advancement is making diagnoses more accurate.
Effects of an Ultrasound on Patients
An ultrasound exam is most often a noninvasive procedure. Soundwaves are transmitted throughout the body via a probe the technician moves on the skin. There is no pain involved in the procedure, so no anesthetic is administered, nor are pain pills needed after the fact. The absence of anesthesia and painkillers means the patient experiences no side effects and doesn’t feel sluggish or disoriented after the examination. There are no known risks associated with an ultrasound exam. The only possible side effect occurs if the technician lets the probe linger in one position for too long. In that case, the patient may feel a warm sensation. To help the waves penetrate the skin, a clear gel is applied to the exam area, and it can be cool to the touch. You’ll have to wipe it off when the exam is over as well.
Preparing for an Ultrasound
Different kinds of ultrasound require different preparations. For all kinds, however, it’s a good idea to wear loose clothing so you can easily expose the area to be examined. Wearing dresses isn’t a good idea for any exam that is above the waist. In that case, you would have to undress completely. Instead, wear shorts, pants, or a skirt with a waistband that is easy to slide down and wear shirts that are easy to pull up. In some cases, there are preparations to make prior to the exam. For transabdominal ultrasound, the bladder needs to be full. Drinking eight ounces of liquid an hour before the appointment makes the organs show up more clearly. Conversely, a transvaginal ultrasound is done on an empty bladder. Immediately after the exam, you are able to either use the bathroom or have a drink.
What Is a Pelvic Ultrasound?
A pelvic ultrasound is an exam that uses soundwaves to create images of the organs inside the pelvis. Pelvic ultrasounds are the procedures that most people are familiar with and think of first. They are commonly administered to pregnant women to check on the progress of the fetus. In the second trimester, a doctor will order a pelvic ultrasound for women to check for birth defects and overall fetal development.
One of the first ultrasounds was performed on a pregnant woman so the examining physician could see the baby, and the procedure has been used by obstetricians ever since. The ability to view a baby in utero is extremely valuable to everyone involved because the doctor can see how the baby is developing. Additionally, doctors can see if the cord is wrapped, if the baby is positioned correctly, and what the gender is ahead of time. Expectant mothers usually have two ultrasounds during the pregnancy, but if the mother is high risk, the doctor may order more. Below, we discuss other uses for a pelvic ultrasound.
Other Uses for a Pelvic Ultrasound
Pelvic ultrasound may be used for measurement and evaluation of female pelvic organs. Doctors can use sonograms (the images produced by the ultrasound) to see the cervix, fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, vagina, and bladder in women. They are looking for abnormalities and serious diseases like cancer. They check the size, shape, and position of the uterus and ovaries, the length and thickness of the cervix, and changes in bladder shape. Oddities in these organs may indicate larger problems. While a pelvic ultrasound can provide useful information about the location, size, and structure of masses within the pelvis, it can’t provide a definitive diagnosis of cancer or any other disease. It can locate a mass, at which point the doctor may order more testing to determine what the mass is. A biopsy might be ordered and performed to ascertain what the mass is. Ultrasound is useful in diagnosing and assisting in the treatment of certain diseases. Ultrasound procedures can uncover fibroid tumors, benign growths, masses, cysts, and other tumors within the pelvis that could be problematic down the road.
Conquest Imaging is your home for high-level ultrasound equipment. We are proud to present the GE Voluson for sale, among other models. Check out our inventory and contact us for a quote or free assessment of what ultrasound would meet the needs of your practice.