Most people associate the term ultrasound with pregnancy, and they are right. An ultrasound is a safe and painless method of seeing inside the body. It utilizes high-frequency sound waves to visualize organs and structures within the body. It has many uses in medicine, from diagnosing certain medical conditions to confirming and dating pregnancy. Surgeons use it to guide their movements during delicate medical procedures. Unlike other imaging procedures, however, ultrasounds produce zero levels of radiation. This is why it is the most preferred method of viewing a fetus in the womb during pregnancy.
During an ultrasound test, a small device known as a transducer is used. The technician moves the transducer over a part of your body while it sends out high-frequency sound waves into your body. The human ear can’t hear these high-frequency sound waves. When these waves hit tissues and organs inside the body, they bounce back (echo) and are picked up by the transducer. These waves generate electrical signals that are translated by the ultrasound machine into a moving image that can be displayed on a monitor during the session.
Thanks to advancements in technology, new ultrasound variations have emerged. Below we’ll take a look at the different kinds of ultrasounds available today.
A 2D ultrasound is the most common procedure for conducting an ultrasound. It produces two-dimensional images. Although it produces flat-looking images, they are sufficient for diagnosing certain medical conditions and for determining the sex of a baby in the womb. Most pregnancy ultrasounds are still conduct via 2D technology. This is because a baby’s heart, gestation, growth, development size, placenta, and the position of the baby can all be viewed via 2D ultrasound. Other potential issues such as heart defects and kidney issues can still be diagnose using the 2D ultrasound as well.
The procedure for having a 3D ultrasound is not very different from a 2D ultrasound. However, the technology used in 3D ultrasound is more complex and advanced and produces very different images. The 3D ultrasound takes thousands of pictures and photos of an internal body organ simultaneously. These pictures are then conveyed to a computer that combines them to produce three-dimensional images of a baby or body organ. With a 3D ultrasound, you get real-life photos that have more clarity than those generated in a 2D ultrasound. For instance, in pregnancy, you can view more delicate features such as the baby’s face and hands.
The 4D ultrasound takes things a notch higher than the 3D ultrasound. In a 3D ultrasound, you only get a three-dimensional image of a body organ or a baby. With 4D ultrasound, the machine creates an effect that’s similar to watching a live video of inside the body. Not only can you see what is happening inside the womb, but you can also hear and see what the baby is doing – whether it is stretching, smiling, or otherwise. Since this procedure is more advanced than the others, it can be a bit more expensive.
With a live ultrasound, a probe with a special source of light inside the probe itself allows you to capture not just 3D and 4D images but by lighting up the baby itself, you can see subtle characteristics of the baby that other types of ultrasounds are likely to miss. These include facial expressions that the baby may be making during the procedure, smiles, and even baby yawns! Thanks to better depth perception and the ability to physically manipulate where the light goes, a live ultrasound can help you see your baby in a new “light”, so to speak, and it can allow you to, for the first time ever, see your baby’s facial features, nose, eyelids, and lips…not to mention little fingers and little toes!
Often, the terms ultrasound and sonogram are used interchangeably to talk about the same thing. However, these two terms are technically different. An ultrasound can be described as a procedure that makes use of high-frequency sound waves to create a picture of internal body organs or a baby inside the womb. The visual image generated during the ultrasound procedure is what is referred to as the sonogram. Simply put, the ultrasound is the process and the sonogram is the result.
Medical research has shown that ultrasounds have no side effects and no association has been proven between an ultrasound and birth defects. It is recommended that you entreat the services of qualified personnel to ensure you get the best ultrasound results.
At Baby View HD, we offer each of these ultrasounds and also specialize in creating other types of lasting mementos of important lifetime events. To learn more about the services we provide, click here.