One of the most advanced imaging tests available, 3D and 4D ultrasounds use high frequency sound waves to visualize inside the body without making an incision. This minimally invasive diagnostic test is safe to use when pregnant or on patients with contrast dye allergies since no radiation or contrast dyes are needed.
A 3D ultrasound is a picture of the 3D image rendered by the reflected sound. A 4D ultrasound is when the computer updates the 3D image in real time to record motion. This advanced technology provides physicians and patients a better visual of the body or fetus.
What are 3D and 4D Ultrasounds used for?
Used to assess soft tissue structures (muscles, blood vessels and organs), 3D and 4D ultrasounds are most famously used to assess pregnant mothers and the health of the fetus. These tests can also assess breast tissue and blood flow to the breast in addition to mammography.
Ultrasounds are also used to evaluate these parts of the body:
- Vascular system
- Abdominal organs (kidneys, liver, pancreas)
- Obstetrics (fetus)
- Pelvic region (to assess issues such as ectopic pregnancy)
How are 3D and 4D Ultrasounds performed?
The first step of an ultrasound is to apply a gel-like substance to the body. This gel acts as a conductor. Then, the technician uses a transducer to send ultrasound waves through the patient’s body. The sound from the transducer is reflected off of different structures inside the body, and is read by a computer to create an image (3D ultrasound) or a series of images (4D ultrasound).