How It Is Done continued...
You will lie on your back (or on your side) on a padded
table. Gel will be put on your belly to improve the quality of the sound waves.
A small, handheld instrument called a transducer is gently moved over your
belly. A picture of the organs and blood vessels can be seen on a video
You need to lie very still while the ultrasound is being
done. You may be asked to take a breath and hold it for several seconds during
Pelvic ultrasound takes about 30 minutes. You may be
asked to wait until the doctor has looked at the pictures. The doctor may want
to do more pictures.
For transabdominal ultrasound , you will need to drink 4
to 6 glasses of juice or water about an hour before the test. Do not empty your
bladder until the test is over. If you cannot drink enough fluid, your bladder
may be filled with water through a thin flexible tube (catheter) inserted into
When the test is done, the gel is cleaned off your
skin. You can urinate as soon as the test is done.
For transrectal ultrasound , you will be asked to lie on
your left side with your knees bent. A digital rectal examination will be done
before the ultrasound test. Then a lubricated transducer probe will be gently
inserted into your rectum. It will slowly be moved to take pictures from
different angles. You may feel some pressure. Water may be put into your rectum
to clean the end of the transducer so that clear pictures can be seen.
For transvaginal ultrasound , you will empty your bladder. You will be asked to lie on your back
with your hips slightly raised.
A thin, lubricated transducer
probe will be gently inserted into your vagina. Only the tip of the transducer
is put in the vagina. You need to lie very still while the ultrasound scan is
Transvaginal ultrasound may give more information than
transabdominal ultrasound for women who:
- Are very overweight.
- Are being
checked or treated for infertility.
- Have a hard time with a full
- Have a lot of gas in the intestines. This makes it harder
for your doctor to see all the organs in the pelvis.
Transvaginal ultrasound often makes a clearer picture
than transabdominal ultrasound because the transducer probe gets closer to the
organs being viewed. But transvaginal ultrasound looks at a smaller area than
In rare cases, sterile saline is put in
the uterus through a thin tube (catheter), to allow the doctor to look at the
inside of the uterus (hysterosonogram).