The Various Types and Uses of Ultrasounds


Imaging tests are essential as they help your doctor detect abnormalities in your internal organs during the early stages. They are also helpful in tracking the progress of an ongoing condition and facilitating different medical processes such as colonoscopy. Examples of imaging tests include magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, and X-rays. If you are pregnant, your doctor may recommend ultrasound in Memorial City to check fetal development and estimate pregnancy age. Below are other different types of sonograms.

Abdominal Ultrasound

An abdominal ultrasound is a non-invasive procedure that your specialist may recommend to view abdominal organs such as your spleen, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and kidneys. This test provides real-time images, and your doctor may also use an abdominal ultrasound to:

  • Guide processes, including needle biopsies.
  • Examine and evaluate significant blood vessels.
  • Determine the origin of abdominal pain such as kidney stones.

During the process, your doctor will apply a clear gel on your skin’s surface. Using a transducer, your doctor will move the device around as images of your internal organs appear on a monitor. The structural images are essential as they help your doctor recommend the necessary treatment based on your diagnostic results.

Obstetric Ultrasound

This test involves the use of sound waves to assess the developing fetus and is used for the following reasons:

Estimate the Gestational Age

Forty weeks is the average gestation for a normal pregnancy. However, in medical terms, the pregnancy term is anywhere from 37 to 41 weeks. Estimating the gestational age is essential to assess the growth of the baby. Your doctor will use a standardized growth chart to ensure that there is normal fetal development.

Check for Complications In the Placenta

The position of the placenta during pregnancy is vital for both the baby’s and mother’s health. Your doctor may recommend an ultrasound to check for various complications such as:

  • Placenta previa- This is a condition where the placenta lies lower than usual in the uterus. It may be expected for the placenta to be low during the onset of pregnancy. However, as the baby grows, the placenta should move upwards. If the placenta remains low until delivery, it may result in excessive bleeding, and a cesarean section may be an option.
  • Placenta accreta- This complication occurs when blood vessels and parts of the placenta grow deep inside the uterine wall and remain firmly attached. Your doctor may detect this condition during an ultrasound. Placenta accreta may result in excessive bleeding during delivery as the placenta detaches from the uterine wall.

What Happens During an Obstetric Ultrasound?

Your specialist may require you to have a full bladder before the test. You may need to expose your lower abdominal area during the process and lie on an exam table while facing up. Most patients experience slight discomfort as the doctor guides the transducer over the abdomen. Other times, your doctor may need to press firmly to obtain clearer images of the embryo. This procedure may take approximately 20 to 45 minutes.

Ultrasounds are safe and usually do not require any downtime. Schedule a session with your specialist at Memorial Women’s Specialist to check on your baby’s development and learn more about other tests, including pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound imaging.


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