Cecelia Brewington, M.D. Answers Questions On: Pelvic Ultrasound
Does pelvic ultrasound imaging expose patients to radiation?
Ultrasound (sonography) uses sound waves to create detailed images of the inside of the body. Ultrasound studies don’t use radiation, and they are safe, painless, and easy to perform.
In both men and women, transabdominal (“transpelvic”) ultrasound imaging is performed by slowly moving a small piece of equipment called a transducer across the outside of the abdomen.
Transvaginal ultrasound imaging is another option for some female patients. This study involves inserting a small probe in the vagina, which improves our visualization.
Which organs can be seen with pelvic ultrasound imaging?
Ultrasound imaging of the pelvis is used for both men and women. In females, we are able to see the uterus and ovaries, and in men, the male genitalia and prostate gland. We can see the bladder and urethra in both men and women.
Thanks to ongoing advances in all types of imaging, we offer both 3-D (still-frame) and 4-D (moving) ultrasound imaging.
We also can now capture data sets from ultrasound studies and use them to recreate images, look at tissue from a variety of perspectives, and carefully review studies long after they’re performed.
In what cases might pelvic ultrasound be appropriate?
Pelvic ultrasound imaging is often used to evaluate both women and men in cases of pelvic pain or injury, urinary incontinence, pelvic masses, infertility, and dysfunctional bleeding.
It is also commonly used to examine fetuses during pregnancy.
Pelvic ultrasound is used to evaluate and diagnose a number of conditions, including reproductive cancers such as ovarian and testicular cancer. Patients identified as being at increased genetic risk for these cancers also can benefit from regular ultrasound screening.