What is a Pelvic Ultrasound and what does it do?
A pelvic ultrasound uses sound waves to make a picture of the organs and structures in the lower belly (pelvis). A pelvic ultrasound looks at:
- The bladder, ovaries, uterus, cervix, and fallopian tubes of a woman. See a picture of female organs seen on pelvic ultrasound .
- The bladder, prostate gland, and seminal vesicles of a man. See a picture of male organs seen on pelvic ultrasound .
- Pelvic ultrasound can be done three ways: transabdominal, transrectal, and transvaginal.
- Transabdominal ultrasound. A small handheld device called a transducer is passed back and forth over the lower belly. A transabdominal ultrasound is commonly done in women to look for large uterine fibroids or other problems.
- Transrectal ultrasound. The transducer is shaped to fit into the rectum. A transrectal ultrasound is the most common test to look at the male pelvic organs, such as the prostate and seminal vesicles. Sometimes, a small sample of tissue (biopsy) may be taken with small tools inserted through the rectum during a transrectal ultrasound.
- Transvaginal ultrasound. The transducer is shaped to fit into a woman’s vagina. A woman may have both transabdominal and transvaginal ultrasounds to look at the whole pelvic area. A transvaginal ultrasound is done to look for problems with fertility.
For women, pelvic ultrasound may be done to:
- Find out what is causing pelvic pain.
- Look for the cause of vaginal bleeding.
- Look for pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
- Find an intrauterine device (IUD).
- Look at the size and shape of the uterus and the thickness of the uterine lining (endometrium).
- Look at the size and shape of the ovaries.
- Check the condition and size of the ovaries during treatment for infertility.
- Confirm a pregnancy and whether it is in the uterus. Pelvic ultrasound may be used early in pregnancy to check the age of the pregnancy or to find a tubal pregnancy (ectopic pregnancy) or multiple pregnancy.
- Check the cervical length in a pregnant woman at risk for preterm labor.
- Check a lump found during a pelvic examination.
- Check uterine fibroids found during a pelvic examination. Pelvic ultrasound may also be done to check the growth of uterine fibroids.
For men, pelvic ultrasound may be done to:
- Look at the seminal vesicles and the prostate gland.
- Check for prostate cancer.
- See if urinary problems are being caused by a prostate that is getting bigger, such as from benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).
- Check to see if a problem with the prostate gland may be causing infertility.
Who performs the test?
An ultrasonographer specifically trained or certified in Ultrasound imaging.
Where does it take place?
Jackson Hospital Outpatient Center Hudnall Building, Room 110, located adjacent to the Hospital.
How long does it take?
This exam generally takes about 30 minutes to complete.
What can I do to make it a success?
- Bring your doctor’s orders with you when you come for your scheduled exam.
- Wear comfortable, easy to remove clothing.
- Follow all preparation instructions given to you by your physician’s office. If you have any questions, please call us for clarification. We want your exam to be as successful as possible.
What should I do before the exam?
You will need to have a full bladder prior to having your ultrasound exam. Please drink 32 ounces one hour prior to your appointment time.
What happens during the exam?
You need to lie very still while the ultrasound is being done. You may be asked to take a breath and hold it for several seconds during the test.
You may be asked to wait until the doctor has looked at the pictures. The doctor may want to do more pictures.
You will lie on your back (or on your side) on a padded table. Gel will be put on your belly to improve the quality of the sound waves. A small, handheld instrument called a transducer is gently moved over your belly. A picture of the organs and blood vessels can be seen on a video screen.
You will be asked to lie on your left side with your knees bent. Then a lubricated transducer probe will be gently inserted into your rectum. It will slowly be moved to take pictures from different angles. You may feel some pressure.
For transvaginal ultrasound, you will empty your bladder. You will be asked to lie on your back with your feet placed in stirrups.
A thin, lubricated transducer probe will be gently inserted into your vagina. Only the tip of the transducer is put in the vagina. You need to lie very still while the ultrasound scan is being done.
What should I do after the exam?
The radiologist will review your image(s) and a final report will go to your ordering physician in 24–48 hours.
Ultrasound Department (at main hospital): (850) 718-2582
Ultrasound Department (at OP Center): (850) 526-6702
Radiology Department: (850) 718-2580
Hospital (main operator): (850) 526-2200