Pelvic ultrasounds are most commonly performed on females to assess the uterus and ovaries and during pregnancy to assess the foetus (see Obstetric Ultrasound). In men it is usually used to assess the prostate gland. Other reasons for having a pelvic ultrasound include assessing the size and shape of pelvic organs.
Ultrasounds are performed by specialist staff called Sonographers. All X-Ray & Imaging Sonographers have extensive clinical ultrasound experience.
In most cases you will be required to remove some or all of your clothes that cover your pelvic region and put on one of the gowns provided. The sonographer will then apply a gel to your pelvic region and pass a marker pen shaped instrument known as a transducer over the gelled area. Images of your pelvic organs should appear on a screen in front of you. As all bodies are different, it usually takes the Sonographer several minutes to find the organs which are to be examined and obtain clear and accurate images of them. Occasionally, the Sonographer may decide that it is necessary to perform a transvaginal ultrasound in order to gain the necessary images. In such a case the transducer is placed 5 to 8 cms into the vagina. You will be required to empty your bladder for this. Once the sonographer is satisfied that the pictures are accurate the examination is over. The images are reviewed and interpreted by a radiologist and are printed for you to take with you to your next doctor’s appointment. In most cases the whole process takes less than an hour from entering the building and leaving with your results.
Pelvic ultrasounds can show the size and shape of the organs being observed. The images can also give information as to any lumps or swellings to see if further investigation is required. Most lumps appear symmetrical and are filled with fluid. These are common cysts and are not dangerous or threatening in most cases. Others are solid or partly solid which may be harmful and require further investigation, usually by means of a biopsy.
Yes. You are required to have a full bladder in order to ensure concise images are taken. Drink around 1 litre of water between 90 minutes and 1hour before your appointment and hold until after your appointment.
Normal Pelvic Ultrasounds are completely painless. Other than the initial cool feeling of the gel you should not feel any discomfort during the examination. During transvaginal ultrasounds you may feel minimal discomfort as the transducer is placed in the vagina especially as the bladder begins to refill. This will only be minimal discomfort and only temporary.
Yes. Appointments are often booked several days in advance so you should call to book your appointment as soon as possible.