A pelvic Reference ultrasound Opens New Window uses sound waves to make a picture of the organs and structures in the lower belly (pelvis).
A pelvic ultrasound looks at the Reference bladder Opens New Window and:
- The Reference ovaries Opens New Window, Reference uterus Opens New Window, Reference cervix Opens New Window, and Reference fallopian tubes Opens New Window of a woman (Reference female organs Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window).
- The Reference prostate gland Opens New Window and Reference seminal vesicles Opens New Window of a man (Reference male organs Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window).
Organs and structures that are solid and uniform (such as the uterus, ovaries, or prostate gland) or that are fluid-filled (such as the bladder) show up clearly on a Reference pelvic ultrasound Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window. Bones or air-filled organs, such as the intestines, do not show up well on an ultrasound and may keep other organs from being seen clearly.
Pelvic ultrasound can be done three ways: transabdominal, transrectal, and transvaginal.
- Transabdominal ultrasound. A small handheld device called a transducer is passed back and forth over the lower belly. A transabdominal ultrasound is commonly done in women to look for large Reference uterine fibroids Opens New Window or other problems.
- Transrectal ultrasound. The transducer is shaped to fit into the Reference rectum Opens New Window. A transrectal ultrasound is the most common test to look at the male pelvic organs, such as the prostate and seminal vesicles. Sometimes, a small sample of tissue (Reference biopsy Opens New Window) may be taken with small tools inserted through the rectum during a transrectal ultrasound.
- Transvaginal ultrasound. The transducer is shaped to fit into a woman's Reference vagina Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window. A woman may have both transabdominal and transvaginal ultrasounds to look at the whole pelvic area. A transvaginal ultrasound is done to look for problems with Reference fertility Opens New Window. In rare cases, a hysterosonogram is done to look at the inside of the uterus by filling the uterus with fluid during a transvaginal ultrasound. Sometimes, a small sample of tissue (biopsy) may be taken with small tools inserted through the vagina during a transvaginal ultrasound.
In all three types of pelvic ultrasound, the transducer sends the reflected sound waves to a computer, which makes them into a picture that is shown on a video screen. Ultrasound pictures or videos may be saved as a permanent record.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference June 8, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Howard Schaff, MD - Diagnostic Radiology