A pelvic ultrasound is a diagnostic exam that uses sound waves to create images inside the body. The exam can be performed through the skin of your abdomen (abdominal or transabdominal ultrasound) or, in some cases, transvaginally using a special wand designed to obtain clear images of your uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and bladder.
In women, pelvic ultrasounds are most commonly performed to diagnose or evaluate:
the cause of pelvic pain
the cause of unusual or abnormal vaginal bleeding
pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
the size and shape of the uterus
abnormal growths including fibroids, cysts and tumors
the size, shape and other characteristics of the ovaries
some pregnancies, including suspected ectopic pregnancies
Pelvic ultrasound may also be used in IVF (in vitro fertilization) procedures and to guide biopsy procedures to obtain small samples of tissue for further examination.
While an external ultrasound uses a handheld device called a transducer to send sound waves painlessly through the skin, a transvaginal exam uses a wand-shaped transducer inserted into your vagina for clearer, more detailed images. Both types of ultrasound procedures are performed at our state-of-the-art offices so patients can begin treatment for medical conditions as soon as possible. Most exams take about 20 minutes to perform.
Yes; unlike x-rays and CT scans, pelvic ultrasounds do not use ionizing radiation. Instead, they use sound waves to obtain images. Ultrasounds are considered one of the safest diagnostic procedures – so safe, they're used regularly during the course of a pregnancy to check on the health and development of the fetus.
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