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Having a gynaecological pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound scan? Information for patients 

What is a gynaecological pelvic and transvaginal ultrasound scan? Sound travels in waves. Ultrasound is sound which travels at a higher frequency than we can hear.   

The ultrasound waves are sent to and from the body by moving a hand held sensor (similar to a microphone) over the surface of the skin of the area to be examined. Images (pictures) are taken for interpretation by doctors and senior radiographers trained in this speciality.   

Ultrasound scans can be used to diagnose a variety of conditions. They are commonly used to scan babies during pregnancy.   

Pelvic ultrasound scans can monitor changes in the uterus (womb) and the ovaries. There are two ways of performing a pelvic scan.   

  1. For a transabdominal pelvic scan, you will be asked to drink water to fill your bladder. The ultrasound probe is placed on the skin in the lower part of your tummy.  
  2. For a transvaginal scan, a special probe is placed into the vagina. Much clearer and more detailed pictures can be obtained using this method.  

Will it hurt? No. However, if you feel any discomfort, please tell the person doing the scan.  

What are the risks and benefits of this test? The benefit of an ultrasound scan is that it is a relatively quick procedure, which gives your doctors detailed information about the area being examined. As ultrasound is made up of sound waves, there are no risks or side-effects associated with this test, even if you have a pacemaker or other electronic implant.  

Is there anything I need to do before my appointment?  

No special preparation is required, but we will ask you to drink one litre of water one hour before your appointment time. This is because you will need to have a full bladder for the pelvic (transabdominal) part of the scan. If you also need to have the transvaginal scan, you will be able to empty your bladder before this is done.   

Please do tell the person doing the scan if you have any concerns or questions. They should be able to reassure you or perform the scan in another way. You are, of course, free to refuse this examination.   

The scan can be done while you are having your period, but it will not be done if you have not had an internal examination before.   

What if I cannot keep my appointment? Please contact us as soon as possible. We can then offer this date to another patient and agree a new appointment date and time with you.  

What happens on the day of my appointment?  

If you are already staying in hospital as an inpatient, you will be brought down from the ward to the imaging department. If you are having the scan as an outpatient, we will ask you to report to reception in the imaging department. Your appointment letter will tell you which hospital to attend.   

You may be asked to undress and change into a hospital gown. There is no need to remove jewellery.   

We will then ask you to lie down on an examination couch and the lights will be dimmed so that the pictures on the television screen can be seen more clearly. You may be asked some questions about your health before the scan begins.  

A water-soluble jelly is then applied to your lower abdomen (tummy) for the pelvic part of the scan. The jelly allows the sensor to slide over the skin easily and helps to produce clearer pictures of the uterus and ovaries. You will be able to empty your bladder once the pelvic scan has been done.   

If an internal (transvaginal) scan is required, the person doing the test will ask for your consent before proceeding. If you wish, a female chaperone can be present during the scan.   

The transvaginal ultrasound sensor is slightly thicker than your thumb and will be inserted about one-and-a-half inches into your vagina. For reasons of hygiene, it will be covered with a disposable latex (rubber) sheath.. Once inserted, the sensor is moved around and rotated until the best images (pictures) are obtained. The scan normally takes five to ten minutes to complete.   

 Please let us know if you have a latex allergy, so that we can use an alternative probe cover if necessary.   

What happens afterwards?  

The jelly will be wiped off your skin and you will be able to get dressed.  

 A full report will be given to you on the day and your doctor will be informed of the results with your permission.  

At Fusion Healthcare we offer all types of ultrasound scans your needs. Please contact for booking