A pelvic ultrasound is an exam that is used to help doctors see the organs, tissues and fluid that are located in the pelvis. The exam is noninvasive, which means that no skin must be cut to see what is happening inside the body. For female patients, doctors use the procedure to identify issues with the cervix, fallopian tubes, bladder, ovaries, vagina and uterus.
The exam can also help them identify problems with the prostate glands, bladder and seminal vesicles of male patients.
Why Is a Pelvic Ultrasound Performed?
A pelvic ultrasound helps doctors diagnose fertility issues, cysts and cancer growth inside the pelvic region. The images allow doctors to visualize fibroids, tumors, inflammation, infection, ectopic pregnancies and changes in the shape of the bladder.
How Does a Pelvic Ultrasound Work?
A pelvic ultrasound is performed by using a transducers, which is a small device that emits strong ultrasonic waves. These waves can travel through the body so that doctors can clearly see the organs and structures inside the pelvic cavity. A gel is placed along on the skin where the transducers will be used to help the waves travel easily, and it helps the transducers to move smoothly for clearer results. A pelvic ultrasound can be performed by placing the transducers in the vagina, in the rectum or on the belly.
Transvaginal Pelvic Ultrasound
A transvaginal pelvic ultrasound uses a transducers that is specially designed to fit within the vagina. This method often allows doctors to identify issues that may cause infertility, and it may be combined with a transabdominal ultrasound for more complete information. In some cases, a doctor may fill the uterus with fluid before performing the transvaginal ultrasound so that he can better see any abnormalities. This type of ultrasound may be used if the patient is very overweight or has a lot of gas in her intestines, which can prevent the sound waves from traveling through the abdominal cavity.
A transcrectal ultrasound is performed using a transducers that fits inside the rectum. This is often the best way for doctors to visualize issues with male organs such as seminal vesicles and the prostate. The transrectal ultrasound can be done at the same time as a biopsy.
A transabdominal ultrasound is performed by rubbing the transducers across the belly. This can help doctors identify uterine fibroids and other issues. The doctor or technician may request the patient to drink plenty of fluids before the exam to receive clear images.
After the Pelvic Sonogram
There are no lingering effects after a pelvic sonograms has been completed. Doctors often allow their patients to resume regular activities, although they may schedule more tests or restrict certain activities based on the results of the sonograms.
A pelvic sonogram gives doctors a clearer understanding of problems and issues that may be found in the pelvis. Doctors often use it as an early diagnostic tool because it is noninvasive and does not need radiation to get the images they need, and it is more affordable than other forms of medical imaging.
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Yassin studies the latest advances in the health and wellness industries. He is especially knowledgeable about medical scanning software. He is employed at BRIT Systems Inc. in Dallas, TX.