Posted on August 25th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

What’s the purpose of ultrasound gel?

ultrasound gel

Ah…that amazing blue stuff…sometimes shockingly cold, oftentimes warm like a comfy blanket (if they’re nice and keep it in a warmer!). If you’ve ever had a sonogram, you know it’s pretty messy, and Moms usually hate it!

The best I’ve used for most of my career, pictured above, is made by Parker Laboratories and provides the perfect viscosity. In other words, it doesn’t run down the side of your belly when we squirt it. Ultrasound gel is made up mostly of water, gets everywhere, and feels tacky until it dries. However, no one can have an ultrasound without it!

Why do we use it?

The role of gel is two-fold. Most importantly, it’s acoustic transmission gel. This means it helps to conduct the sound waves. No gel, no view! Ultrasound cannot travel through air or gas. Without the gel, there exists a bit of air between the probe and skin which produces no image on the monitor!

Second, it allows the probe to move smoothly over Mom’s belly. Some wonder why we use so much. If we used it sparingly, it dries out. The probe won’t glide over your kin, and the dried gel forms little balls of stickiness. Gross. Better to use a bunch and extra tissue to wipe it off after! Usually, it dries like a fine powder on your skin.

I performed this little experiment one time for a patient who asked, much to her amazement. It’s really cool, actually…touch the probe to the skin with no gel and all you see is black. Add a little gel and Voila’! Baby.

So, there you go. Another lesson in Ultrasound 101.

Have a great day and a healthy pregnancy 🙂

Email me at wombviewerblog@gmail.com with your questions!

 

Comments: No Comments »

Posted on April 29th, 2017 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Diagnostic Ultrasound In a Nutshell

Ever wonder about what us sonographers really do when we perform your sonogram? Or why your paperwork called your exam a “diagnostic ultrasound?”

What Does Diagnostic Mean?

Anything “diagnostic” describes a test performed to try to find a problem. So, diagnostic ultrasound is ordered to rule out problems in pregnancy for Mom and Baby. Most people are very familiar with ultrasound but most consider it a fun and exciting event allowing you to see your baby and determine gender. And, yep, it can be all those things. However, first and foremost, ultrasound is a very important diagnostic tool used by your doctor to find structural abnormalities, follow fetal growth, and determine multiples. And this only scratches the surface!

What Do We Look For?

In a nutshell, my job requires me to document what I see and to make a report about it. More intricately speaking, I have to document with images and measurements everything I can see relative to fetal and maternal anatomy. Of course, what I can see and need to document all depends on how far along you are–your gestational age. Once I write a detailed report, I can present a complete ultrasound picture of your case to your physician.

What Things Can I See on Mom?

A few organs and measurements we try to see on mom are as follows:

  • The uterus and some types of pathology (like fibroids which are muscular tumors and very common)
  • The ovaries (those become obscured later as the uterus gets larger)
  • The cervix, which holds in the pregnancy and is sometimes observed for length in the 2nd trimester

What Things Can I See on Baby?

What parts we can see on Baby varies greatly depending on your gestational age. But a few things we look for are:

  • Baby’s size, to determine age or follow growth
  • Internal organs, depending on age, include the brain, heart, stomach, bladder and kidneys
  • Upper and lower extremities (arms and legs), again, depending on age. We try to see fingers and toes on your anatomy screen, but they can be a challenge–especially if the fists are closed in a ball.
  • Baby’s spine
  • Baby’s umbilical cord
  • The placenta and where it’s located
  • And last but not least! Maybe, possibly, if all the stars align and Baby cooperates, you just might be able to find out fetal sex.

How Does It Work?

Ultrasound is just that…sound waves which operate at a frequency far beyond human hearing. Ultrasound is not radiation. Sound waves, much like a fish finder, are sent from crystals in the transducer (the probe placed in the vagina or rubbed on your belly) and transmitted with the help of the ultrasound gel. The waves penetrate the tissues directly below the probe until they reach Baby. They bounce back and create the image you see on the monitor. Factors like the size of the patient and fetal position can limit what parts we see and how well we can see them on the examination.

Additionally, many other diagnostic ultrasound examinations are performed on various other parts of the body, as well. Ultrasound is THE most technologist-dependent modality there is. This means the machine does nothing without someone operating it. This precisely explains why some mamas receive a “baby girl” guess only to discover a little wee wee later on in the pregnancy. If the operator, or person holding the probe, lacks experience scanning fetal sex–oops!–wrong guess. And we’ve ALL heard those stories, haven’t we?!

Subscribe for all the information you want
on fetal ultrasound!

You can email any questions you have at wombviewerblog@gmail.com!

 

Comments: 8 Comments »

Posted on May 24th, 2014 by wombwithaviewblog.com

Today’s post is all about ribs but not the kind we love to bathe in barbecue sauce. It’s all about fetal ribs today.

Bone on ultrasound shows up white because it is very dense. Water, on the other hand, is the opposite and shows up black. Ultrasound cannot travel through bone, so as your baby’s bones become more dense, they cast a shadow behind them. Viewing certain parts behind them become a challenge, like the heart.

Next time you have a scan, notice the appearance of  baby’s bones. Look for the perfect black lines of the shadow behind the bone. Notice we cannot see anything in that shadow. Therefore, anything that lies behind bone is not well seen.

Take a look at the image of this baby’s ribcage below. Notice the arrows pointing to the white dots which represent the fetal ribs and the black shadow that follows each one. Ultrasound 101. You’re quite welcome!

SONY DSC

 

 

Comments: No Comments »