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Pelvic transabdominal ultrasound

Ultrasound is a medical imaging procedure using high frequency sound waves to show pictures of a person's insides. A pelvic transabdominal ultrasound is safe and usually painless. 

Reasons for having a pelvic transabdominal ultrasound

A pelvic transabdominal ultrasound is performed in pregnancy to check foetal development.

It may also be used to look for causes of a woman's pelvic pain, abnormal vaginal bleeding and menstrual problems or to check for problems with the ovaries or womb, such as fibroids

It may also help in finding causes of infertility, including damaged fallopian tubes or endometriosis.

How a pelvic transabdominal ultrasound is done

To carry out a pelvic transabdominal ultrasound scan, the patient will be asked to drink around a litre or two pints of water, or another clear but non-fizzy liquid an hour before the scan appointment.

Clothes need to be moved away from the abdomen and/or pelvic area as the patient lies on the ultrasound examination couch. Tissue paper is used to protect clothes from special ultrasound gel which needs to be smeared on the skin in area to be scanned.

The ultrasound operator might be a doctor (for example a radiologist) or a sonographer. They will move a small handheld device across the lower abdomen while looking at images on a computer monitor. Some pressure will be applied to get a better view of organs and other areas of interest.

Images can be captured and measurements of any suspected problem areas can be taken to be assessed by doctors or other specialists.

The scanning appointment will take around 15 minutes. Results of the scan will come via the doctor who asked for the scan to be done.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on November 30, 2012

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