If you haven't been sexually active a vaginal
ultrasound is not usually performed.
The vaginal ultrasound probe will be covered
with a condom and will have been soaked in a disinfectant between uses.
The good news is that you have to have an
empty bladder for the vaginal ultrasound. The technologist will ask you to use
the bathroom and empty your bladder completely. As important as it was that it
be full for the abdominal part, it's equally important that it be empty for the
If you're having bleeding and are wearing a
tampon, you will need to remove it. If you're bleeding heavily just let the
technologist know that she an absorbent pad will be placed on the table for
you. Don't be embarrassed. Their only interest is trying to help your
physician figure out what problems there might be.
Some ultrasound exam rooms have tables
equipped with stirrups on the table. The will be in place and you will be asked
to put your feet in them and slide all the way down to the end of the table. If
the table doesn't have stirrups, you may be asked to place a pillow or booster
under your hips so that they are propped up.
The technologist will insert the probe, or ask
you to do it. It isn't painful and isn't much bigger than a tampon. The
technologist will move the probe around taking pictures of your uterus and
ovaries, measuring them, and documenting any abnormalities. You may hear sounds
similar to a heart beat. The technologist is using Doppler ultrasound to
demonstrate that there is normal blood flow in your ovaries.
After taking all the necessary pictures the
technologist will remove the probe and remove the booster from under your hips
or ask you to take your feet out of the stirrups and make yourself comfortable.
In many departments, the technologist will
need to show the images to the radiologist who actually interprets the images.
You may be asked to wait while this is done to make sure that no more pictures
are needed. If there are questions, the technologist may need to take more
images, or the radiologist may come in and either scan or watch the technologist
scan. Some departments allow the technologist to let the patient go if they are
satisfied with the quality of the study.
An ultrasound technologist is a highly trained
medical professional. They are accredited by the American Registry of
Diagnostic Medical Sonographers. In order to be accredited they must have
passed at least two very difficult registry exams. In the past, many
sonographers were trained on the job. Today a technologist must go to an
accredited ultrasound school which can be one to four years long. One year
programs are hospital based and require the applicant to have a medical
background (often radiologic technology) and a college degree. Two to four year
programs grant associate degrees or bachelor degrees upon completion. Look for
RDMS after your technologist's name on their name badge. In order to pass the
registry exams, the technologist has to know how to operate the ultrasound
machine, know the anatomy they are scanning, and know the pathology of the
organs they are scanning. If your technologist doesn't reveal the results of
your scan to you, please understand that the department where they work may
prohibit that or the technologist may not be familiar with your medical history
to provide a complete answer. Your physician knows all that and is the one who
will provide you with the results and treatment.