Ultrasound Scan

An ultrasound scan uses sound waves to view internal body organs and structures. It is a quick simple straightforward test. It is also safe for children and pregnant women as it doesn't use radiation.

A probe sends ultrasound waves through your body. These then echo or bounce back with information about the shape and density of the organ/structure under investigation. This information is visualised on a monitor.

An ultrasound scan of the upper abdomen (liver, kidneys, gallbladder, pancreas), requires patients to fast before the scan.
However a pelvic trans-abdominal ultrasound scan examines organs of the lower abdomen and requires patients to have a full bladder. Patients can be asked to drink a litre of water 30-60 minutes before the scan. Structures examined include the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes and bladder.

There are two ways to perform an ultrasound scan of the pelvic organs:

1. Pelvic Trans-Abdominal Ultrasound Scan
This scan examines lower abdominal structures. A lubricating jelly is applied to the abdomen. This helps sound waves pass more easily from the probe through the abdominal wall.

2. Trans-Vaginal Ultrasound Scan
This scan can be preformed with an empty bladder. A thin lubricated probe is inserted into the vagina. The closer proximity of the probe to the reproductive organs allows more detailed information to be gathered.

Ultrasound scans are used by reproductive specialists to check:

  • The size and shape of reproductive organs
  • The thickness of the lining of the womb (endometrium)
  • Fibroids (benign tumour that develops in the wall of the uterus)
  • Polyps (benign growth that protrudes into the uterine cavity)
  • The size of ovaries and number of small follicles
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Back to 'Hers' Female Fertility Testing →

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