The reflections of sound waves that have been beamed toward an object may be analyzed to produce an image of that object. The uterus and ovaries possess physical qualities that make them well suited for imaging by ultrasound.

Ultrasound provides information that is critical to the evaluation of cancer risk, abnormal bleeding and pelvic masses. It is an integral component of monitoring ovulation (especially, when fertility drugs are used). Ultrasound is a safe and efficient way to evaluate early pregnancies. Ultrasound studies are almost always painless, with the typical exam lasting less than 5 minutes.

When fertility medications are taken to stimulate the ovaries, ultrasound is used to measure the size of the follicles growing on the ovaries.  Each follicle contains an egg.  Throughout ovarian stimulation the follicles grow in size and secrete estrogens.  When the follicles grow to the appropriate size, ovulation occurs naturally after a luteinizing hormone (LH) surge or after a human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) injection.

Transvaginal or Transabdominal?

In order to generate the ultrasound image, a probe must be placed against the body close to the organ to be visualized. For pelvic ultrasound the preferred approach is with a probe placed into the vagina (transvaginal probe).Transvaginal scans are performed with the patient’s bladder empty.

A transabdominal probe is used when the transvaginal probe is not suitable or when we wish to image structures in the upper abdomen. Transabdominal scans require a full bladder.

As with all visits and procedures, be sure you have obtained the appropriate referral/authorization from your insurance company prior to coming to the office.