Gynecologic and Obstetrical Ultrasound
Gynecologic sonography is used:
- to assess the pelvic organs
- to diagnose pelvic pain
- to diagnose and manage gynecologic problems including endometriosis, leiomyoma, adenomyosis, ovarian cysts and lesions
- to assess the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding
- to assess the uterus for congenital or acquired abnormalities
- to diagnose and follow the changes in uterine fibroids (myomas)
- to evaluate ovarian response to ovulation induction during infertility treatments
- to obtain human eggs (oocytes) in IVF
- to identify ovarian or adnexal masses
- to assess the uterus prior to placing an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUD)
- to confirm the location of an IUD
- to diagnose ectopic pregnancy,
- to diagnose gynecologic cancer
- to look for early ovarian cancer in women who are at risk for this disease
(Saline Infusion Sonography; SIS) is a procedure in which sterile saline is instilled into the uterine cavity, and gynecologic sonography performed at the same time. SIS is highly sensitive in the detection of intrauterine abnormalities in subfertile women, comparable to hysteroscopy.
Because of the enormous value of of sonography and the many conditions one can diagnose through this modality, Dr Howe uses ultrasound extensively in caring for his gynecology and infertility patients. He has performed gynecologic ultrasound since the 1980s and during his academic years published scientific papers and books chapters on the subject.
Obstetrical ultrasound is a safe, noninvasive procedure that uses sound waves to create images of the fetus, placenta and amniotic fluid. These images can be viewed in real time on a monitor. During the first trimester, an ultrasound can determine the age of the fetus, rule out multiple pregnancy, determine the viability of an early pregnancy, assess early pregnancy bleeding, and look for any serious birth defects. Later in the pregnancy, ultrasound exams can measure the size and position of the fetus, placenta and amniotic fluid. Mid-pregnancy ultrasound exams permit confirmation of normal fetal anatomy and development.
Because our practice at RMC cares for infertility patients but does not extend to routine prenatal care, Dr Howe performs first trimester ultrasound exams to confirm that our patients have healthy pregnancies that are growing properly within the uterus. We then return those patients to their referring physicians or to trusted colleagues for their obstetrical care.
Risks Of Ultrasound
There are no major risks or complications associated with an obstetrical ultrasound for either the mother or fetus, nor of gynecologic ultrasound. There are no needles or ionizing radiation used during this procedure.