What is Pelvic Ultrasound Scanning?
Ultrasound is an examination technique using high frequency sound waves to make still and live images of the pelvic abdominal structures.
Sound waves are converted to a digital image that is then recorded on PACS as a real-time image for the Radiologist to review. No ionizing radiation is used in ultrasound imaging and it can be used to visualize the soft tissue structures of the pelvis that do not contain air, since air interferes with this kind of imaging.
What are Some Common Uses of This Exam?
Ultrasound is used to visualize the pelvic organs-uterus, ovaries, bladder, and prostate. It can be used to visualize a growing fetus from approximately 5 weeks' gestation to term. It can also help determine the following:
- abnormalities of the developing fetus
- the presence of uterine masses like fibroids or tumors
- the presence of ovarian abnormalities like cysts, tumors, ectopic pregnancies
- prostate enlargement
What is Endovaginal Scanning?
This procedure is used when it is necessary to clearly visualize the ovaries. The sonographer inserts a probe into the cervix, allowing a closer look at the ovaries and uterus. The probe is covered with a clean sheath, gel is applied to it and then it is inserted. The sonographer moves the probe to get the clearest image possible.
Preparing for the Pelvic Scan
- You need a full bladder for the routine pelvic ultrasound exam.
- 1 1/2 hrs prior to exam empty your bladder. Drink 32 oz of water after voiding and finish 1 hr prior to exam. Do not empty again until exam is complete.
- Having a full bladder pushes the bowel up out of the way and gives us an acoustic window to better visualize the pelvic organs.
- Please wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. You will be asked to either lower or remove your clothing from the waist down for this procedure, but you will be covered with a sheet.
How is the Procedure Performed?
The sonographer, a professional well-trained in the use of Ultrasound equipment, will position you on the examination table. Clear gel will be applied to your lower abdomen to make proper contact with the skin and ensure there is no air between the skin and transducer (a hand-held instrument that produces the pictures.) The sonographer then presses the transducer firmly against the skin to obtain images of the particular area being scanned.
These images are reviewed as the scan is performed and occasionally, the Radiologist also will be present.
The Endovaginal Scan
This procedure is used when it is necessary to clearly visualize the ovaries or endometrial cavity. You will first empty your bladder, and then the sonographer will insert a probe into the vagina, allowing a closer look at the ovaries and uterus. The probe is covered with a clean sheath, gel is applied to it and then it is inserted. The sonographer moves the probe to get the clearest image possible.
Preparing For the Endovaginal Scan
Please follow the same instructions as for the Pelvic Ultrasound Scan.
When your exam is completed, you are able to empty your bladder and get dressed. You will then be immediately released.
There may be slight pain associated with this exam. Normally, you will only experience some slight discomfort but if there is any pain, tell the sonographer and the exam will be stopped.
All Cooley Dickinson Hospital Radiologists are American College of Radiology Board Certified physicians who have graduated from an accredited medical school, completed at least a four-year residency program in Diagnostic Radiology and passed a licensing examination.
Your Cooley Dickinson Hospital Sonographer has one-to-four years of formal training with either a certificate, Associate's or Bachelor's degree and has also passed a specialty examination for radiology and/or sonography. This professional is well-prepared to work with specialized radiographic equipment.
What is a Doppler Procedure?
This is a special ultrasound procedure that shows the motion of red blood cells through the vessels. This exam helps physicians determine whether blood is normally flowing to an ovary if this is of concern.
How Do I get the Results?
After your exam is completed, a Radiologist will analyze the images and send a signed report to your primary care and/or ordering physician. You should obtain your results from the ordering physician.