Most people associated ultrasound with pregnancy, but it has many other applications in diagnosing and managing gynecologic issues. Northwest Women’s Center in Houston, TX, is equipped with the most advanced ultrasound technology to help ensure women receive the best and most appropriate care for all their obstetric and gynecologic needs. The team at Northwest Women’s Center is full of qualified medical professionals with extensive experience and skills, giving you peace of mind knowing that your health is in good hands.
What is an Ultrasound?
Ultrasound is a diagnostic technique that uses sound waves emitted painlessly through the skin to create images of organs and processes inside the body without the use of radiation. The technique works like this: As the sound waves penetrate the skin and “bump into” solid structures inside the body, the waves bounce back to the surface of the skin where they’re captured and transmitted to a computer. The computer takes these sound waves and “interprets” them into images that can be viewed on a monitor or printed out. In gynecology, ultrasound is commonly associated with the evaluation of a developing baby during pregnancy, but it has many other applications as well, including diagnosing diseases and managing treatment.
How an Ultrasound is performed
In gynecology, ultrasounds may be performed through the skin or transvaginally using a special wand-shaped device that’s inserted into the vagina. During both exams, the ultrasound waves are transmitted through a device called a transducer. The waves penetrate the tissue without causing any discomfort so there’s no need for anesthesia or sedation.
The ultrasound exam is performed in a darkened room so it’s easier for the doctor or technologist to see the images as they appear on the screen. Ultrasound is performed in “real-time,” which means the images can be seen and evaluated during the exam, unlike an X-ray where the images are evaluated after the exam is complete. Most ultrasounds take 30 minutes or less to complete.
What our patients have to say
“I have been a patient of Dr. Baker for almost 20 years! He has always taken the time to answer any questions I may have. Great bedside manners. The staff is always incredible and quick. Always up to date and knowledgeable about to newest procedures and options in women’s health!” - Kristi R.
When is Ultrasound used in Gynecology?
In addition to monitoring the growth and development of a fetus, ultrasound is also used to:
- determine the position of a baby in the uterus
- evaluate the health of the umbilical cord and placenta
- diagnose and manage the treatment of fibroids and cysts
- determine the cause of abnormal menstrual bleeding or vaginal bleeding
- determine the cause of pelvic pain
- manage the treatment of endometriosis and other conditions affecting the reproductive tract or pelvic organs
Does an Ultrasound use radiation?
Ultrasound is also used to manage the ongoing treatment of some conditions and disorders, and because it does not use radiation like X-rays and CT scans, there’s no need to worry about radiation-related risks.
Modern science has shown us that, currently, there are no indications that ultrasounds are the cause of any complications with a developing fetus. This makes ultrasounds a safe way for medical professionals to get vital information to give you the best care possible.
For your ultrasound exam, you should try to wear loose clothing. Your doctor may ask that you change into a gown to make things easier. Depending on the reasoning for your ultrasound, you may be asked to avoid certain foods or beverages for a period leading up to the examination. They may even ask that you have a full bladder beforehand. Your doctor will fill you in on any pre-examination protocol that you should follow.
Most ultrasounds are done within 30 minutes. The length of the exam is heavily dependent on the reasoning behind your ultrasound. Your doctor will let you know what to expect during your ultrasound.