Pelvic or abdominal ultrasound in females is an assessment of the ovaries, bowel, uterus and bladder. In males, it looks at the prostate gland and bladder. It is a non-invasive procedure that may also show blood flow in pelvic organs. The equipment used is called a transducer. It emits ultrasonic sound waves that bounce off organs and return to the transducer, creating an electronic image from the echoes.
The best sound conduction is achieved by the use of a clear conducting gel placed between the transducer and the skin to eliminate air and allow smooth movement. Blood flow is assessed using Doppler ultrasound. It evaluates the direction and velocity of blood flow in the vessel by making audible sound waves.
The reason for an abdominal ultrasound dictates the type of procedure to be used. All methods may be used to provide full information needed for diagnosis or treatment.
Some medical conditions and symptoms such as endometriosis, need higher images of a transabdominal ultrasound but with transvaginal ultrasound, the examination is done vaginally where the transducer is inserted inside the vagina to produce detailed images of the organs in the pelvic region.
The procedures are safe since no radiation is used. You may only experience slight discomfort with the insertion of the transducer into the vagina, or lying on the examination table. The procedure takes no more than 10 – 15 minutes. A report is always available immediately after the tests.