10 Myths About Medical Ultrasound Debunked

Updated on December 6, 2021

Ultrasound scans are safe, affordable and highly reliable — but a lot of myths might surround them. Read this article to get to know the truth about this medical technology.

Ultrasound scans are a popular, accurate, and affordable type of medical test. Doctors use it to diagnose health conditions, monitor their progress, and evaluate the efficiency of the treatment plan. Unfortunately, even though this technology was invented around 70 years ago, it’s still surrounded by many prejudices and stereotypesThis article willll list and debunk the ten most common myths about medical ultrasound.

It Might Be Painful

That’s 100% untrue. An ultrasound test is entirely painless. You might experience slight discomfort only in the case of transrectal or transvaginal scans.

It Might Be Harmful to Your Organism

Unlike X-rays or CT scans, ultrasound scans don’t involve ionizing radiation. The high-frequency sound waves that this technology relies on are harmless. So even if your health condition requires frequent ultrasound tests, you shouldn’t worry about it.

Moreover, the ultrasound exam is one of the safest tests that pregnant ladies can have. It enables the doctor to assess the baby’s development and identify their gender. The only possible risk is that the baby might be exposed to increased heat during the procedure. Yet, any trained sonographer should know how to minimize the examination time in such a situation and maintain the lowest power settings.

Ultrasound Might Cause Miscarriage in the First Trimester of Pregnancy

This technology can’t cause miscarriage regardless of the stage of pregnancy. Doctors use ultrasound to confirm and locate pregnancy as well as monitor the early growth and heartbeat of the fetus. The medical professional needs to make sure that the baby is developing at the right place in the uterus — otherwise, it might pose a threat to both the mother and the child. To ensure the baby’s brain growth, their mother might need to take medicines under the guidance of the physician.

Transvaginal Ultrasound Might Be Risky

No, the transvaginal scan doesn’t differ dramatically from any other type of ultrasound test. However, its high-resolution modality enables it to get the best possible picture of the baby in real-time. Because of this, you will be able to see the 3D face of your baby!

It’s Enough to Have One Ultrasound Scan to Make Sure the Baby Is Developing Normally

Pregnant ladies should have multiple scans at specific time intervals to monitor the baby’s development accurately. The cost of an ultrasound scan is much more affordable than that of a CT scan, and nearly any healthcare facility in your area should offer this type of service.

Besides, you should realize that while ultrasounds are usually able to detect most structural lethal abnormalities, you might need to resort to other technologies to assess the functional well-being of your baby.

The Results of an Ultrasound Scan Are Exhaustive and 100% Accurate

The truth is that this technology is very accurate — but not necessarily 100%. For instance, when you try to estimate the fetal weight, the following factors might impact the accuracy of measurement:

  • Pregnancy month
  • Mother’s BMI
  • Any previous operation
  • The baby’s position

The accuracy of an ultrasound determining the baby’s gender is 97%. However, it might be reduced due to the baby’s position in the womb or if the baby has its legs crossed underneath their bottom.

Also, ultrasounds can’t give complete information about the whole organism. The doctor will be able to analyze the condition of only that organ or part of the body that is currently examined.

You Shouldn’t Eat Before Any Ultrasound

Before an ultrasound scan, you should plan your meals in the following way:

  • Avoid eating if you have an abdominal ultrasound
  • Eat as usual if you have any other type of test

Pregnant ladies should avoid going hungry for long hours. At an early stage of pregnancy, they might need to come with a full bladder — it should enable the medical professional to better estimate the baby’s condition.

3D/4D/5D Ultrasounds Are More Accurate Than 2D

The type of the ultrasound scan depends on the parts of the body that you need to examine:

  • 2D is optimal for investigating the amniotic fluid, assessing the baby’s growth, and detecting the majority of congenital disabilities
  • 3D helps to catch physical defects in a fetus, such as a cleft lip, misshapen limbs or problems with the spinal cord
  • 4D and 5D are used for heart tests

Yet, it doesn’t mean that any specific type of ultrasound is more accurate than the other. A 2D and a 3D scan both rely on the same ultrasound frequency. The third dimension doesn’t appear during scanning — it’s the computer that adds it when processing the image. A 3D image might feature more details than 2D, and it might be easier for the patient to understand it. But for a doctor, a 3D or a 5D image might offer the same amount of technical information as a 2D one.

The Report Will Be Ready As Soon As an Ultrasound Procedure Is Over

Once the test is over, you should be ready to wait a bit — maybe, until the next day. The doctor will need some time to analyze and interpret the images. However, if you want to know your baby’s gender, measurements, and overall health status, the sonographer can share this information with you immediately.

An Ultrasound Scan Should Be Highly Accurate Regardless of Where You Have It

You should strive to have ultrasound tests in a healthcare facility that provides high-quality services. The more skilled and experienced the technician, the better. The accuracy of the scan highly depends on the human factor. Plus, the doctor should use only recent scans to analyze your health condition. A scan that was taken some time ago would hardly show what’s going on inside your body right now.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you found this article informative, and now you won’t let popular myths about ultrasound scans misguide you. It’s a painless and non-invasive technology that doesn’t involve ionizing radiation and can’t pose any harm to your organism. Pregnant ladies get this done to assess the development of their babies. Ultrasound tests are also available to anyone who wants to know about the state of their bladder, liver, kidneys, and other organs.

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