Pelvic and Transvaginal Ultrasound

Pelvic Ultrasound

What are the clinicians looking at?

A pelvic ultrasound in females looks primarily at the uterus and ovaries and bladder, but the bowel may also be visualized if requested by your doctor. A pelvic ultrasound in males looks at the bladder and prostate gland.

What is the preparation?

You may eat regularly prior to the ultrasound exam unless you are also scheduled for an abdominal ultrasound (see abdomen for details. You are asked to fill your bladder by drinking 40 oz of water (4-5 8oz glasses) two hours before your exam. Do not urinate before the exam. The full bladder provides a “window” to see your pelvic organs. The sonographer will let you empty your bladder after all the pictures are recorded.

What will the sonographer do?

You will be asked to lie down on a table with your pelvis or lower abdomen uncovered. An odourless and water-soluble gel will be put on your skin by the sonographer. This helps to transmit the sound waves and allows easy movement of the probe or transducer over the skin. The sonographer will move the probe along the skin while taking pictures of all of the pelvic organs. The sonographer will leave the room once all the pictures are taken in order to develop the images or to discuss them with the radiologist or the sonographer will confirm the completion of the examination and direct you to the change room after which you will be free to leave.

For many female patients in addition to the regular trans abdominal pelvic ultrasound a trans-vaginal ultrasound is required to obtain a more clear and detailed imaged of pelvic structures such as the ovaries and uterus. The trans-vaginal ultrasound is completed with an empty bladder.

Transvaginal Ultrasound

Upon having a pelvic ultrasound, a transvaginal ultrasound may be required in order to visualize the female pelvic in more detail.

A transvaginal ultrasound is performed by inserting a narrow probe/transducer into the vagina with your bladder empty. This allows the sonographer to visualize your uterus and ovaries up close and magnified because the sound waves are closer to the pelvic organs. Therefore, higher resolution images can be obtained especially when assessing the inside of the uterus (i.e. endometrial lining and early pregnancies).

Procedure for a Transvaginal Ultrasound

• You will be asked to empty your bladder completely after the pelvic ultrasound and prior to the transvaginal scan
• During the exam you will be completely covered
• A non-latex the sterile cover is over the probe and lubricating gel is applied for easier insertion

Will it hurt?

This procedure should not hurt. It will however feel uncomfortable. If any pain should occur during this exam let the sonographer know and the probe will be removed.

Why do I have to drink water if I can just do the transvaginal ultrasound?

The transabdominal ultrasound (on top of the abdomen) allows visualization of the entire pelvis or the whole picture.

The transvaginal ultrasound is an up close and narrowed view of certain pelvic structures.

Therefore, one exam cannot be substituted for another. Rather, they work together to help diagnose your condition.

How long does it take?

The procedure takes no more than 10-15 minutes

When will I get the results?

If you are seeing your doctor immediately after your ultrasound appointment, a verbal report will be called or faxed to your Doctor. If you are not seeing your doctor after the ultrasound test, a final report will be faxed to your doctor with 24-48 hours.


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AdvantAGE Ontario

 Ontario Association of Radiology Managers - OARM

Ontario Association of Medical Radiation Sciences - OAMRS

College of Medical Radiation Technologists of Ontario - CMRTO

Independent Diagnostic CLinics Association - IDCA