Understanding the Different Types of Ultrasound Tests

Aug 01, 2023
Understanding the Different Types of Ultrasound Tests
Ultrasound technology helps your doctor “see inside” your body without radiation and without discomfort. Here we share three types of ultrasounds that can help us keep you healthy at every stage of life.

The word “ultrasound” makes many people immediately think of the imaging exams used during pregnancy to monitor the health and development of the growing baby. But ultrasound is used in other ways, too. 

Ultrasound scans provide detailed images of organs and other structures (including developing babies) without radiation. Instead, these scans use reflected sound waves transmitted through a special device called a transducer. The transducer captures image information and sends it to the ultrasound machine, where images appear on a video monitor.

At OB/GYN Associates of Conroe in Conroe, Texas, Richard Roberts, MD, uses ultrasound imaging in different ways to help keep women healthy at every stage of life. Depending on your needs, he may recommend one of these three types of ultrasound imaging.

Abdominal ultrasound

Abdominal ultrasound is the type of ultrasound used during pregnancy to confirm pregnancy, assess fetal development, and monitor the health of both mom and baby. But it can also be used during evaluations of pelvic organs in women who aren’t pregnant.

Before beginning the scan, the technician places a special gel on your belly. This gel helps the device obtain clear images, and it also enables the transducer to slide more easily over your skin.

During the scan, the technician passes the transducer over your belly, applying pressure when needed to get the clearest images possible. Most imaging takes 20 minutes or less. Abdominal ultrasounds are painless and noninvasive.

3D ultrasound

3D ultrasounds are usually reserved for women who are pregnant. These ultrasounds give you a clear picture of your baby’s face and other features before birth. 

Sometimes, Dr. Roberts orders a 3D ultrasound for medical reasons — for instance, to check for a specific defect, like a cleft palate. Parents often want to have these scans to have an early record of their baby during its development. Dr. Roberts provides 3D ultrasound of your baby's face at no additional cost.

Transvaginal ultrasound

While an abdominal ultrasound collects images using a transducer that’s passed over your belly, a transvaginal ultrasound uses a transducer that’s inserted into your vagina. The transducer “wand” is first covered with gel, then slipped into a protective covering before being inserted.

Once the wand is in place, the ultrasound technologist gently moves it to capture detailed images of your uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. As with an abdominal ultrasound, the transducer emits ultrasound waves and recaptures them when they’re reflected.

Our transvaginal ultrasound plays a vital role in diagnosing many gynecologic issues, like ovarian cysts and problems affecting the uterus or uterine lining (endometrium). It can also show 3D images to help determine the cause of abnormal bleeding and pelvic pain and also confirm the optimal placement of an IUD.

Learn more about ultrasound

Ultrasound is an important tool to help women stay healthy at every stage of life. To learn more about the ultrasound imaging tests we use, call 936-756-7788 or book an appointment online with the team at OB/GYN Associates of Conroe today.