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Reasons for a Transvaginal Ultrasound and Results

Submitted on March 27, 2012

Transvaginal Ultrasound

Ultrasounds are also called sonographs or ultrasound scans. This is a noninvasive technique where a certain area of the body is viewed to examine the internal organs of the body. This is done by exposing a certain body part to sound waves of high frequency, and therefore, getting a live image of the internal organs. Ultrasounds don’t use the ionizing rays that are used in X-rays. The images are relayed live and show the structure, movement, as well as blood flow to the particular area of the body.

A transvaginal ultrasound is one of three kinds of ultrasounds performed; the other two are rectal (in the case of men) and abdominal.

Reasons

A transvaginal ultrasound is typically done to observe the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrial wall). It gauges its thinness and thickness, and gives a view of the ovaries. It is also used to examine the muscular uterus walls, which are known as the myometrium. These procedures are used to detect abnormalities of the uterus, scars, fibroids, polyps on the endometrial walls, as well as cancer. The scan is also done to identify the cause of infertility.

Procedure

Firstly the patient will be asked to empty her bladder. She will be then asked to lie down and raise her legs up into stirrups. A probe is then inserted into the vagina after covering the probe with a condom and gel. The probe emits rays that reflect off the part of the body to be examined and immediately shows pictures on a screen. This probe is smaller than the probe used in a pap smear. The health care worker will then move the probe around in the vagina so as to clearly see the internal organs.

Transvaginal Scan During Pregnancy

The transvaginal scan is done during pregnancy in order to monitor the fetus growth. It also assesses the heartbeat rate of the fetus. It checks for ectopic pregnancies as well as other related problems.

When the test results are normal, it means that the pelvic structures of the fetus are as they should be.

Interpretation of Scan Results

When results are abnormal, it could mean one of the following:

  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Multiple fetuses (twins, triplets, etc.)
  • Miscarriage
  • Placenta previa
  • Placental abruption
  • Shortened cervix: this would increase the risk of  late miscarriage or preterm delivery
  • Tumors of pregnancy: this would include gestational trophoblastic disease
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