Things you must know while going for a 3D ultrasound in pregnancy. Three-dimensional ultrasound is a diagnostic tool that uses ultrasonic waves to scan the body, just like normal ultrasound. This scan combines 2D images from multiple angles to get a 3-dimensional internal view of soft tissues and anatomical structures. Before this diagnostic imaging, there had been 2D imaging which only provided limited information about internal organs. Hence, it was essential to shift from 2D to 3D radiography to get a complete and assured diagnosis. 

This article will give a three-dimensional overview of three-dimensional ultrasound imaging.

10 advantages of 3D ultrasound over 2D imaging

3D ultrasound is an upgraded version of diagnostic imaging tools, which allows us to 

  1. 1. Allows one to visualize the 3D anatomy of the body, 
  2. 2. Cost-efficient
  3. 3. Time-saving
  4. 4. Disease diagnosis 
  5. 5. No need to integrate multiple images as in 2D 
  6. 6. Allows us to visualize and differentiate different layers beneath the skin
  7. 7. Allow monitoring of disease progression
  8. 8. In 2D, we can not move to the exact location of the target while undergoing the procedure, but in 3D, we can do so. 
  9. 9. Measurement of body organs is difficult in 2D but quite easier in 3D.
  10.  10. Movements and developmental issues in the womb can be seen clearly.
  11.  

What will happen after entering an ultrasound room?

  1. 1. You will be asked to wear loose clothing or a hospital gown.
  2. 2. You will be asked to lie down on the back. 
  3. 3. A water-based gel is rubbed on the part to be examined. 
  4. 4. An instrument called a transducer is pressed over your abdomen. Just like a normal ultrasound machine, the 3D ultrasound machine transmits ultrasonic waves from a transducer that is pressed on the patient’s body.
  5. 5. The transducer sends ultrasonic signals to the uterus where your baby is developing, and these signals get reflected.
  6. 6. The analyzer will transmit the information to the computer station. 
  7. 7. Signals are combined to produce a virtual picture of the baby that you can observe on screen.
  8. 8. The images of the baby are also visible through ultrasound.
  9. 9. After the procedure, you will get the report, and you can wash off the gel on your body.
  10.  

Is it safe to undergo 3D ultrasound for an unborn baby and mother?

Like a common ultrasound, 3D ultrasound uses nonionizing radiation rather than harmful ionizing radiation, as in CT and X-ray. The ionizing radiation is harmful because it can lead to cancer and some developmental defects in the baby. 

Hence, 3D ultrasound is completely safe for the baby and mother. 

It is to be noted that you must carry out the ultrasound procedure only when asked by the doctor and by qualified and experienced laboratory practitioners. This test is purely for medical purposes, not for entertainment. 

Following risk factors associated with ultrasound

  1. 1. Heat to the baby: Ultrasound waves targeted at the baby produce energy in the form of heat that affects the baby in the womb and may cause developmental irregularities. 
  2. 2. People who want a photo from a 3D ultrasound and carry out this procedure from nonmedical professionals with no qualifications in the medical field would not get any health profile of the baby. 
  3. 3. The commercial Ultrasound does not assure you the correct health report of the body. Nonprofessional practitioners focus on having good photos of the baby. At times they ignore the developmental irregularities of the baby that experts can report. 
  4. 4. High frequency is dangerous. You will be unaware of the frequency of radiation the non professional person is allowing to get a clear image. Medical professionals keep the frequency limit to the minimum to fulfill the diagnostic requirements. 
  5.  

How much does a 3D ultrasound cost?

Compared to plain ultrasound and other imaging scans, 3D ultrasound is quite costlier, just like bearing a baby is becoming expensive nowadays. In Delhi and Bangalore, a single pelvis ultrasound will cost you around ₹1600. While in Hyderabad, the test will cost around ₹1000. Uterus ultrasound costs you around ₹2000. The costs of 3d ultrasound vary from lab to lab. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How is 3D ultrasound different from a normal ultrasound?

Three-dimensional ultrasound is a diagnostic tool that uses ultrasonic waves to scan the body, just like normal ultrasound. This type of scan combines multiple 2D images from different angles to get a 3-dimensional internal view of soft tissues and anatomical structures. Before this diagnostic imaging, there had been 2D imaging which only provided limited information about internal organs. Hence, it was essential to shift from 2D to 3D radiography to get a complete and assured diagnosis. 

Q2. What is the significance of 3D ultrasound over other imaging tools?

10 things that a 3D ultrasound can do but 2D cannot:

    1. 1. Allows visualizing 3D anatomy of the body, 
    2. 2. Cost-efficient
    3. 3. Time-saving
    4. 4. Disease diagnosis 
    5. 5. No need to integrate multiple images as in 2D 
    6. 6. Allows us to visualize and differentiate different layers beneath the skin
    7. 7. Allow monitoring of disease progression
    8. 8. In 2D, we can not move to the target’s exact location while undergoing the procedure, but in 3D, we can do so. 
    9. 9. Measurement of body organs is difficult in 2D but quite easier in 3D.
  •  Movements and developmental issues in the womb can be seen clearly.

Q3. Are there any prior preparations required while going for a 3D ultrasound?

  1. 1. Stop eating or drinking: Confirm with your doctor what to eat or drink according to the type of scan.
  2. 2. Loose Clothing: wear loose clothing so that the ultrasound gel is applied on the patient easily and transducers can be pressed over the skin.
  3. 3. Stay calm and relax.
  4. 4. Take off and wear metallic ornaments or studs.
  5.  

Q4. What will happen after entering an ultrasound room?

  1. 1. Loose clothing: You will be asked to wear loose clothing or a hospital gown.
  2. 2. Lay down and relax: You will be asked to lie down on the back of the hospital bed.
  3. 3. Gel rubbed: A water-based gel is rubbed on the part to be examined
  4. 4. Transducer pressed over: An instrument called a transducer is pressed over your abdomen. Just like a normal ultrasound machine, the 3D ultrasound machine transmits ultrasonic waves from a transducer that is pressed on the patient’s body.
  5. 5. Image analysis: The transducer sends ultrasonic signals to the uterus where your baby is developing, and these signals get reflected. The analyzer will transmit the information to the computer station.
  6. 6. Screen visualisation: Signals are combined to produce a virtual picture of the baby that you can observe on screen. The images of the baby are also visible through ultrasound
  7. 7. Report collection: After the procedure, you will get the report, and you can wash off the gel on your body.
  8.  

Q5. What is the cost of 3D ultrasound?

In Delhi and Bangalore, a single pelvis ultrasound will cost you around ₹1600. While in Hyderabad, the test will cost around ₹1000. Uterus ultrasound costs you around ₹2000. The costs of 3d ultrasound vary from lab to lab. 

Q6. What are the risk factors associated with 3D ultrasound?

  • 1. Heat to the baby: Ultrasound waves targeted at the baby produce energy in the form of heat that affects the baby in the womb and may cause developmental irregularities. 
  • 2. Don’t rely on untrained practitioners: People who want a photo from a 3D ultrasound and carry out this procedure from nonmedical professionals with no qualifications in the medical field would not get any health profile of the baby. 
  • 3. 3D ultrasound is only for medical purposes: The commercial Ultrasound does not assure you the correct health report of the body. Non Medical practitioners focus on having good photos of the baby. At times they ignore the developmental irregularities of the baby that experts can report.
  • 4. High-frequency radiations are dangerous: You will be unaware of the frequency of radiation the nonprofessional person is allowing to get a clear image. Medical professionals keep the frequency limit to the minimum to fulfil the diagnostic requirements.
  •  

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