Pelvic Ultrasound

What is a Pelvic Ultrasound?

A Pelvic ultrasound uses reflected sound waves to produce images of the lower abdominal structures and organs. Organs that are clearly depicted on a pelvic ultrasound are solid or fluid-filled (for example the female uterus). A pelvic ultrasound can be done in three different ways, transabdominal, transrectal, or transvaginal, and looks at the following:

  • Ovaries
  • Uterus
  • Cervix
  • Fallopian tubes


What are the common reasons for having this examination?

Suspected abnormalities of the uterus – either ones you were born with or new ones eg. fibroids.

  • Further evaluation of abnormalities seen on transvaginal scan eg. in women receiving tamoxifen therapy for breast cancer.
  • Investigation of sub-fertility and recurrent miscarriages.
  • If the lining of the uterus was not able to be seen clearly on routine scanning.

You should not have the procedure if you are pregnant or may be pregnant at the time of the examination or you have acute pelvic infection or unexplained pelvic tenderness which may be due to pelvic inflammatory disease.

This technique is used to detect abnormalities of the uterus and the endometrium. Essentially a small amount of fluid is injected into the uterus through a fine tube to outline the uterine cavity. Other structures may be examined if indicated ie. kidneys, bowel and bladder.

Will I need an anaesthetic?

Whilst you may experience some mild discomfort, this is not a painful procedure and therefore no anaesthesia is required. Some patients find a single dose, 1 hour prior to the procedure, of simple analgesia eg. Naprogesic helpful.

3D Gynaecology Ultrasound

Two dimensional transvaginal ultrasound provides medical practitioners with reliable images of the uterus and ovaries. A three dimensional (3-D) ultrasound examination enables the uterus to be sonographically “reconstructed” to provide a coronal view

Reasons for a 3-D pelvic ultrasound include:

  • Assessment for developmental (congenital) uterine anomalies
  • Investigation for acquired uterine structural changes
  • Possible causes of recurrent pregnancy loss
  • Reasons for very preterm births
  • Causes of fetal malpresentations (breech presentation or transverse lie)

3-D ultrasound imaging also facilitates in the evaluation of the uterine cavity for the presence of endometrial polyps (benign growths of the lining of the uterus), uterine fibroids (benign tumours of the muscle of the uterus) or for misplaced intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCD).
3-D ultrasound imaging is also used in conjunction with saline infusion sonohysterosonography.

The 3-D ultrasound examination is typically performed at the same time as your standard 2-D transvaginal scan using a probe that has both 2-D and 3-D ultrasound capability. There is no need to specifically request a 3-D pelvic ultrasound examination.