Renaissance Women's Group – Austin OBGYN

Diagnostic Ultrasound

RWG Offers Obstetrical and Gynecological Diagnostic Ultrasound at Our Office

What Is a Diagnostic Ultrasound?

A diagnostic ultrasound is a test that uses ultrasound imaging, which is also called sonography, to produce pictures of an embryo, fetus or pelvic organs, tissues and structures. The images are then evaluated by a physician to diagnose issues that may occur during pregnancy or in conjunction with a gynecological problem.

During a diagnostic ultrasound, we use a probe, or transducer, that emits very high frequency–but very low power–sound waves. When these sound waves bounce off of pelvic structures or an embryo or fetus, they are then reflected back to the transducer, which transmits the reflected sound to the ultrasound machine where an image is produced.

How Do I Prepare for a Diagnostic Ultrasound?

There really isn’t much preparation needed for an obstetrical diagnostic ultrasound or a gynecological diagnostic ultrasound. For your comfort, you may want to wear loose clothing. You may need to wear a gown for some ultrasound tests. In addition, for early pregnancy (first trimester) or gynecologic ultrasound exams, you need to arrive with a full, but not painfully full, bladder. A full bladder is not required for obstetrical ultrasound exams after the first trimester.

At Renaissance Women’s Group, we emphasize to our patients that a diagnostic ultrasound is an important medical test. We do not allow more than two guests in the room and no children younger than six years of age. We realize there is an entertainment factor to ultrasound in pregnancy, however please remember that this entertainment is secondary to the medical purpose of the exam. Ultrasound exams require a high level of concentration on the part of the sonographer performing the exam, and we ask that you respect their need to focus and provide the best exam possible for you. If patients want to have an interactive experience that involves more family members, we offer a Family Bonding Ultrasound (this could be a link to a future page about this type of ultrasound)for that purpose.

What Can I Expect during a Transabdominal Diagnostic Ultrasound?

A transabdominal diagnostic ultrasound is the most common type of exam performed at Renaissance Women’s Group. Here’s what to expect:

You will lie on your back on an exam table, which can be moved or tilted if necessary.
A special gel is applied to your abdomen to help the transducer capture the images.
The sonographer or physician moves the transducer across your skin during the examination, which is usually painless, unless the area they are working on is particularly tender; in that case, you may feel mild pressure or pain.
After the test, we remove the gel from your skin. If we don’t get all of it, it simply dries and forms a powder. You don’t have to worry—it’s a water-based gel that won’t leave stains on clothing or skin.

What Can I Expect During a Transvaginal Diagnostic Ultrasound?

Transvaginal scans are very commonly used in both gynecology and early obstetrical ultrasound examinations. Often both a transabdominal and a transvaginal scan are needed for adequate visualization of all pelvic structures. During a transvaginal diagnostic ultrasound, the transducer is inserted into the vagina. The transducer is actually smaller than a speculum, and most patients find it less uncomfortable than a pelvic exam or pap smear.

Here’s what to expect.

  • We will ask you to empty your bladder before the test, and then disrobe from the waist down.
    In most cases, you will lie on your back with your feet in stirrups, as you would in a regular gynecological examination.
  • The lubricated transducer, which has a protective cover over it, is inserted into your vagina, much like you would insert a tampon.
  • The exam usually takes only five or ten minutes of scanning time.
    To learn more about diagnostic ultrasound exams, contact us. We offer expertise you can trust and comprehensive gynecologic and obstetric care.