An ultrasound is a diagnostic imaging test that uses high-frequency sound waves to produce images of your internal structures, such as your ovaries or prostate. The sound waves beam into the body and create echoes that bounce back and display a clear image of your internal organs on an outside monitor.
While most types of ultrasounds involve placing a sonar device on the outside of your body, some — transvaginal ultrasounds included — require placing the device inside your body.
Physicians order ultrasound imaging for many different reasons, including to:
An ultrasound is also the most common imaging test to detect a pregnancy and monitor fetal growth and development.
While most ultrasounds require no preparation, some do. For example, you may not be able to eat or drink for several hours before a gallbladder ultrasound. A pelvic ultrasound requires that you have a full bladder during the procedure to accurately see the uterus, vagina, cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.
When you arrive at your ultrasound, you should wear loose-fitting clothing and avoid wearing jewelry. You may need to change into a hospital gown for the procedure, but not always. The test begins with your radiologist applying a gel to your skin. For a transvaginal or transrectal scan, they apply the gel to the transducer (probe).
Next, your technologist moves the transducer over your skin or inserts the probe into your vagina or rectum to view your internal organs. The entire procedure should only take about 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the area your radiologist examines.
Most ultrasounds are painless, particularly if your technologist performs it over the skin. Transvaginal and transrectal ultrasounds may feel slightly uncomfortable, but most patients experience mild pressure rather than pain.
After your ultrasound, your radiologist evaluates the results and discusses any findings with you. Depending on your results, they may schedule a follow-up appointment for another ultrasound or different types of imaging tests.
To learn more about ultrasounds, call One Step Diagnostic or schedule an appointment online today.