Many expectant parents are anxious to see their growing babies. After all, nine months is a long time to wait to see those tiny fingers and toes. During an ultrasound, a wand (transducer) is placed on the belly or into the vagina to send sound waves through the body. These waves bounce off the internal structures, and a computer converts these echoes into a two-dimensional image (or a cross-sectional view) of the fetus on a screen.
In a 3D ultrasound, many 2D images are taken from various angles and put together to form a 3D image. This resulting image looks more like what you’re used to seeing in a typical photograph.
3D sonograms are not usually part of a routine prenatal exam. They are performed only to closely examine suspected fetal anomalies, such as cleft lip and spinal cord issues, or to monitor something specific.
3D Ultrasounds in Gynecologic Imaging
3D ultrasounds are a useful technique to assess the uterus and other pelvic organs and structures. It can be used to examine the following:
- Uterine shape abnormalities (such as Mullerian duct abnormalities)
- Intrauterine device (IUD) location
- Uterine fibroids (particularly the percent of submucosal component)
- Intrauterine adhesions
- Endometrial polyps
Your healthcare provider can perform 3D gynecologic imaging with either the transabdominal or endovaginal technique, but the endovaginal technique results in better quality ultrasound images. The quality of the 3D images depends on the quality of the 2D images, which in turn, allows your healthcare provider the best way to examine the pelvic region of the body.