Since its introduction in the late 1950's ultrasonography has become a very useful diagnostic tool in Obstetrics. For years, obstetrical patients have had the opportunity to receive ultrasound scans as a way to screen for abnormalities, multiple births and gestational age. Many people are familiar with seeing the black and white images produced by a standard 2 dimensional ultrasound (fig 1). However, often times, the image can be difficult to distinguish to the untrained eye.
Several years ago ultrasound technology advanced to 3 dimensional imaging. During the ultrasound scan, a series of thinly sliced images are processed by a computer, thus producing a 3 dimensional image (fig 2). Often times, views are obtained that are not ordinarily seen with the basic 2D scan.
More recently, 4-dimensional ultrasound has been introduced giving OB patients and their family members the experience to see their baby's face with the added dimension of movement. Imagine looking safely into the womb and seeing the baby's face for the first time! It is also possible to see facial expressions, such as smiling and yawning - in real time. This is truly a wonderful bonding experience.
4D and 3D ultrasounds are not intended to replace 2D ultrasound. The 2D basic ultrasound is a very useful diagnostic tool, and will remain so. Every mother should have the standard ultrasound during her second trimester (18-22 weeks) to screen for abnormalities.
"Ultrasound scans are considered to be a safe, non-invasive, [and] accurate test... It has progressively become an indispensable obstetric tool and plays an important role in the care of every pregnant woman" (www.ob-ultrasound.net, 2011). Adding the 4th dimension of movement to the 3D image of the fetus only enhances the experience of pregnancy for the expectant mother and her family.
Advanced Imaging Center provides 4D ultrasound services for OB patients without a physician's order. You must be between 26 & 32 weeks gestation, and have obtained a prior 20 week screening. This test is NOT diagnostic and no physician will be reviewing the images.
Insurance does not cover this test and payment is expected at the time of appointment. To find out the current cost for the service and to schedule your appointment, please call 309-743-0445.