Gynecological Ultrasound

Ultrasounds use high-frequency sound waves rather than X-rays to take pictures of the uterus, ovaries and other abdominal organs. Most women are familiar with ultrasounds due to their widespread use during pregnancies.

There are also a number of gynecologic conditions and procedures in which ultrasounds are useful:

  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Measuring the thickness of the lining of the uterus
  • To detect the presence of fibroids or polyps
  • To visualize the ovaries if there is a suspicion of an abnormal growth
  • As a screen for ovarian cancer
  • To detect the cause of pelvic pain

If the lining of the uterus is unusually thick, your doctor may recommend taking a sample of the uterine lining to ensure that there are no pre-cancerous or cancerous cells. If fibroids and/or polyps are present, ultrasounds are useful to measure their size and map their location.

Patient Benefits

  • Ultrasounds are painless
  • They are noninvasive and do not involve exposure to ionizing radiation.
  • Because ultrasound images are captured in real-time, they can show the structure and movement of the body's internal organs, as well as blood flowing through blood vessels.

How Should I Prepare?
Transabdominal ultrasounds require a full bladder. Therefore, in preparation for your ultrasound, you should drink 24 ounces of water (or any other drink) one hour prior to your appointment time. No other preparation is necessary. Learn more about ultrasound preparation with our prep manual

How Is the Procedure Performed?
A full evaluation usually includes both transvaginal and transabdominal ultrasounds. Some women only need one of the two. Your doctor will inform the sonographer in advance if that is the case.

While lying on a table, a transducer will be gently pressed to your pelvic area over your uterus and ovaries. A gel will be placed between the transducer and your skin to improve contact and transmission of sound waves. Ultrasounds are painless besides the discomfort of pressure against a very full bladder.

Once the sonographer has completed the abdominal portion of the exam, she will ask you to go to the washroom, empty your bladder completely and return to the ultrasound suite.

A transvaginal ultrasound involves a thin, condom-covered wand (probe) that is inserted in the vagina. The gel is placed on the condom. The transvaginal ultrasound has the advantage of not requiring a full bladder and gives a better image of the cavity of the uterus. It is also generally more useful to evaluate endometrial (uterine lining) thickness.

What Will I Experience After the Procedure?
In most cases, there are no after-effects and you can return to your normal activities immediately. Rarely, though, you may be slightly sore or might have a light pink discharge for a day or two.

Who Interprets the Results and How Do I Get Them?
The sonographer will send the ultrasound to one of our board-certified radiologists, who will interpret the ultrasound and prepare a preliminary report. The doctors who interpret our ultrasounds are experts who read obstetric and gynecologic ultrasounds. We recommend that when you schedule your ultrasound, you also schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately following the ultrasound. The sonographer who performs the ultrasound is not allowed to discuss the results.

Gwinnett Medical Center Imaging has multiple convenient Atlanta-area locations in Lawrenceville, Hamilton Mill and Duluth. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call 678-312-3444.