Thursday, May 18, 2017

3D Ultrasound: What’s It All About?

Whether you’re expecting your first child, adding a little brother or sister to the family, or just curious about advancements in medical technology, a lot of people have questions about 3D ultrasounds.

With the help of Women’s Cares’ ultrasound supervisor, Jackie, we’re here to answer some of the most common questions patients have surrounding 3D ultrasounds and learn a little bit more about why this technology is so beneficial for patients and doctors alike.

One common misconception you may have heard is that 3D ultrasounds are replacing 2D ultrasounds. This simply isn’t the case. Jackie explains that instead of replacing 2D technology, 3D technology works in adjunct with it.

“3D just gives us even more information than 2D. We build off of the 2D, so it doesn’t go away, but 3D gives us more information for a better prenatal diagnosis.” Jackie says.

In order to better understand how this technology builds off of each other, we asked Jackie what the biggest difference is between 2D and 3D.

“The biggest difference, really, is how the image is acquired,” she explains.

While 2D uses just a single image or a single plane of information, 3D is multiplanar. This means 3D technology gives obstetricians a volume of information to work with, which makes it easier for them to identify potential health concerns.

One of the most common questions we get from patients about about ultrasounds is whether or not they are safe for the mother and the baby.

Jackie reassures patients that “ultrasound is very, very safe in the hands of skilled sonographers and skilled physicians” and that medical professionals have very specific guidelines as far as safety is concerned.

“With ultrasound, if we step back a little bit, many moms in the mid-to-late 70’s, even the early 80’s, didn’t have ultrasounds,” Jackie says.

While a lot of soon-to-be mothers are excited to see their baby in 3D for the beautiful pictures, this technology does more than just produce realistic images.

“On our end, 3D technology has been so beneficial in allowing us to have  improved visualization of the developing fetus,” Jackie explains.

For example, in the case of a baby that might have a cleft lip or palate, 3D enhances the prenatal diagnosis. This information is beneficial for the surgeon who can now see the anomaly in-depth, for the pediatrician who is planning how best to care for the baby and for the parents who now have extra time to prepare.

“The number one thing parents want to know is, ‘Is my baby okay?’” Jackie says. “3D ultrasound has revolutionized things for the obstetrician, so we can help answer that question.”

The uses for 3D ultrasound technology expand beyond pregnancy as well.

“3D has allowed us to see uterine malformations, help with ovarian masses and tumors, and just provide us with more information for better diagnosis all around,” Jackie explains.

3D ultrasound technology also provides a unique bonding tool for soon-to-be mothers, fathers and even siblings.

“Even the little squirts can see this picture! The 3D is so clear!” Jackie tells us. While the excitement of a mother and father seeing their baby for the first time is hard to beat, 3D ultrasounds are also emotionally beneficial for mothers who have previously miscarried and for infertility couples.

“It’s just such a clear visual of the developing fetus that gives such relief to the family!” Jackie shares. The clarity of 3D ultrasounds allows them to see exactly what is going on with their baby, offering an extra level of comfort and security.

“I loved being pregnant and I just love to see, especially first time moms and dads, get so excited to see their baby,” Jackie tells us. “It’s so exciting and it never gets old for me.”
If you’re expecting and looking to schedule an appointment with one of our providers, you can call our office at 920.729.7105 or click here.

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