For most of us, the first image we saw of us was an ultrasound. Ultrasound has been a part of the pregnancy journey for decades and is also an important tool in the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases.
As technology continues to advance, 4D ultrasound provides physicians with an additional tool to gain detailed insight into the inside of the body. But 4D ultrasounds may not be suitable for everyone. This article will tell you more about 4D ultrasounds and if they are right for you.
Before we get into the details of 4D ultrasound, let’s take a step back and look at ultrasound more generally. An ultrasound uses sound waves to produce real-time images of structures inside your body. It allows doctors to examine organs, vessels and tissues without making an incision. Unlike other imaging methods, ultrasound does not use radiation, which is why it is used to visualize the fetus and uterus during pregnancy.
“An ultrasound works by sending high frequency sound waves through the body. When the waves hit an object, such as an organ or a bone, they are reflected and captured by a computer, which produces an image, much like how sonar and radar work, ”said Dr. George F. Guirguis, doctor. in perinatology at Penn. Highlands Perinatal Consultants.
The images produced by an ultrasound provide detailed information for doctors to use to diagnose and treat various diseases and conditions, such as gallbladder disease, thyroid problems, and joint inflammation, as well as ultrasound scans. of pregnancy.
The use of 3D and 4D ultrasound technology has also been used before pregnancy to identify structural birth defects as well as uterine fibroids. The technology has enabled optimized visualization of plans that was not previously possible with routine 2D ultrasound. 3D and 4D ultrasounds are also used to assess patients for an invasive placentation abnormality. This assists in pre-conception counseling and planning, including surgical precision for the gynecological surgeon.
What is a 4D ultrasound?
A traditional ultrasound (the type of ultrasound commonly associated with pregnancy) produces a flat 2D image. A 3D ultrasound combines several 2D images to produce a 3D image. 4D ultrasound uses recent technological developments to produce live video. This allows doctors to see how organs, structures, and blood flow move around the body.
Fact # 1: 4D ultrasound can measure fetal brain development.
According to a National Institute of Health study, researchers found that by observing fetal movements and facial expressions over an extended period of time, they could distinguish between normal and abnormal fetal behaviors, which could allow early recognition. fetal brain deficiency.
Fact # 2: 4D ultrasounds are not necessary for a healthy pregnancy.
For many pregnant women, your doctor will recommend a traditional ultrasound or a 3D ultrasound, which are equally effective in monitoring the baby’s development and the health of the cervix. Typically, a doctor will only recommend a 4D ultrasound if there is a medical reason for doing so.
Fact # 3: Some “4D ultrasounds” are not true 4D ultrasounds.
Ultrasounds should only be performed by a certified radiologist at a healthcare facility. Although you may see centers (especially in malls and malls) advertising “4D ultrasounds” that give you a video of your baby to take home, these centers often do not use medical grade equipment or certified specialists. In fact, this ultrasound can actually cause harm to you or your baby.
“Although 4D ultrasound is a promising technology, it may not make sense to use it in all cases,” said Dr Guirguis. “As with all medical decisions, talk to your primary care provider or obstetrician to determine what is best for you.”
Penn Highlands Healthcare offers state-of-the-art imaging and radiology services throughout the region. For more information visit www.phhealthcare.org/imaging.