Pelvic Ultrasound

Ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of the body. A transducer and gel are used to send sound waves into the body. These bounce off of different structures in different ways. When they bounce back to the transducer, they are sent to a computer to create images.

Ultrasound has many uses in pelvic imaging. The one with which most people are familiar is the evaluation of pregnant women to look at the baby, the placenta, the uterus, etc. Ultrasound is also commonly used to evaluate women with abnormal bleeding or pelvic masses. It is useful for following uterine fibroids or ovarian cysts and in evaluating women with pelvic pain.

Most often, pelvic ultrasound will be performed with the transducer over the lower pelvis, looking through the bladder to see the uterus and ovaries. The patient will be asked to fill her bladder prior to the study to provide a good “window” of fluid to look through. Sometimes it is also necessary to scan using a probe placed inside the vagina to get a closer look at a certain area. This type of exam is performed in a very discreet manner, and is often more comfortable than a scan through the bladder because the bladder is empty.

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