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3D-4D OB & GYN Ultrasound

Overview

3D and 4D OB & GYN Ultrasound is advanced, multi-dimensional ultrasound imaging. In general, ultrasound is an essential part of obstetrics and gynecology. The process is used to evaluate the health of the baby when a woman is pregnant and it might also be used to diagnose and evaluate other conditions, such as uterine bleeding, pelvic masses, pelvic pain, and tumor growth. 3D and 4D ultrasounds provide images that are extremely accurate.

Vaginal ultrasound is often given during the first trimester of pregnancy. A vaginal ultrasound helps providers determine the due date of a baby, search for the presence of multiple fetuses, and determine if the fetus has a healthy heartbeat. This type of ultrasound is also able to search for abnormalities and determine the likelihood of miscarriage.

Abdominal ultrasound, which is the best ultrasound option after the first trimester, is external. It helps doctors recognize fetal abnormalities and take measurements of the growth of the fetus. During the third trimester, ultrasound is also used to measure the fluid surrounding the fetus and perform further assessment on the health of the fetus.

Preparation and Procedure

Vaginal ultrasounds are internal. A probe transducer is covered in plastic and placed into the vagina, outside of the cervix. The internal probe gives a better picture of the fetus during the first trimester. Sound waves are translated by the machine into 3D and 4D images when 3D and 4D ultrasound machines are used.

Abdominal ultrasound is completely external. Gel is applied to the patient’s belly to lubricate the movement of the ultrasound transducer. This is the hand-held device the doctor moves across the belly. There is some pressure applied, but the majority of women report feeling no discomfort. The device records sound waves and translates them into images in much the same way as the vaginal ultrasound.

Most ultrasound examinations last about 30 to 60 minutes. One adult may accompany patient in ultrasound room. Children are not allowed in the room during the procedure.

Benefits of 3D and 4D Ultrasound

3D and 4D ultrasound scanners provide multi-dimensional images of the fetus. The transducer takes images from the scan, which is processed as 3D. This makes it possible to see views of the fetus that are not available with 2D ultrasound tests. One of the greatest benefits of 3D and 4D imaging has little to do with the physical health of the fetus. It is exciting for parents to see multi-dimensional images of their baby months before he or she is born. Many believe multi-dimensional views enhance the emotional bond between babies and mothers.

Multi-dimensional images also provide better information for doctors, making it easier to see abnormalities and evaluate the nature, and severity of these abnormalities. Abnormalities that were not easily seen with 2D scans are visible with 3D and 4D scans. These conditions include cleft lips and palate, spina bifida, and polydactyl conditions. Recognizing these conditions before birth gives parents and doctors the opportunity to prepare for treatment following birth. Parents who have months to gain education and familiarize themselves with conditions diagnosed before birth often have an easier time dealing with challenges when they arise.

There are specific medical advantages to 3D and 4D scans that include:

  • Ability to scan in the coronal plane
  • Ability to better assess complex anatomic structures
  • Volumetric measurements of organs
  • Analysis of minor defects
  • Imagine of the fetal skeleton


Finally, the 3D and 4D ultrasound machines are able to store information and images.

Risks

There are really no risks associated with 3D and 4D ultrasound scans, but there are instances when an accurate scan might be difficult. The ability to perform an accurate scan depends on the amount of amniotic fluid, the position of the fetus, and the body type of the mother. In instances when a patient is obese, it can be difficult for the ultrasound to give thorough and accurate images.

Some in the medical field consider 3D and 4D scans only necessary for entertainment purposes, but many doctors believe this is far from true. These scans provide valuable information for both doctors and parents. Even if a 3D or 4D ultrasound is not a necessary medical procedure, it is still a valuable part of the pregnancy and childbirth process. The scans provide supplemental information to 2D scans that doctors can use to enhance the health of a pregnancy. Some even believe that when parents are able to view detailed scans and pictures of their babies before birth, the challenges of pregnancy and childbirth are easier. Parents who have utilized 3D and 4D ultrasound report reduced levels of anxiety associated with childbirth, motivation to stop unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, and an improvement in the overall capacity to cope with pregnancy.

If you are pregnant and you believe a 3D or 4D ultrasound scan would be a beneficial procedure, speak with your doctor at Women’s Health Care of Georgia.

NOTE: Insurance may/will not cover 3D ultrasound without a valid medical reason.




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