What Affects the Test
Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
Stool (feces), air or other gas, or X-ray
contrast material (such as barium) in the intestines
rectum. Inability to remain still during
Obesity. Having an open wound on the
A full bladder is needed for a transabdominal ultrasound,
so that the pelvic organs can be seen clearly.
What To Think About
Ultrasound costs less than other tests that
make pictures of organs and structures in the body, such as a
computed tomography (CT) scan or
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). But in some cases, a
CT scan or an MRI may also be needed to confirm a problem, such as
cancer. With pelvic ultrasound, your doctor can
usually tell the difference between a fluid-filled cyst, a solid tumor, or
another type of lump. This is one of the main advantages of an ultrasound. An
abnormal lump needs more testing. A follow-up ultrasound is often done in 6 to
8 weeks because many problems go away on their own within that time. Pelvic
ultrasound cannot determine whether a lump is cancerous (malignant) or
noncancerous (benign). A
biopsy may have to be done for
this. Transvaginal ultrasound is used during fertility checks
to help guide the removal of
ovarian follicles for
in vitro fertilization.
can be done to see your baby (fetus). For more information, see the topic
Fetal Ultrasound. If male problems, such
as a big prostate, are found on ultrasound, more testing may be done. For more
information, see the topics
Digital Rectal Examination (DRE),
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA), and
Other Works Consulted
Chernecky CC, Berger BJ (2008).
Laboratory Tests and Diagnostic Procedures, 5th ed. St. Louis:
Fischbach FT, Dunning MB III, eds. (2009).
Manual of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests, 8th ed.
Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Pagana KD, Pagana TJ (2010).
Mosby?s Manual of Diagnostic and Laboratory Tests, 4th ed. St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Adam Husney, MD, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Howard Schaff, MD - Diagnostic Radiology
June 8, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
June 08, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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