Ultrasounds can be classified in different ways: by the type of image they produce, by the area, they want to show or by the way they are made.
On this occasion, we share information about the classification of ultrasound according to its procedure. In this classification, there are three kinds of ultrasound: external ultrasound, internal or transvaginal, and endoscopic.
1. External ultrasound
External ultrasounds are the most common and are usually used to examine some organs, such as the liver, kidneys, stomach, and heart, or to track a pregnancy. Even some tissues, such as muscles or ligaments, can also be visualized by this type of ultrasound.
In this type of study, a small probe is placed on your skin and moved along the area of the body that will be examined. Before this, a lubricating gel is placed to facilitate the movement of the probe.
In this type of ultrasound, you should not feel anything other than the sensor and the gel on your skin. If you have a pelvic area scan, the study will require you to have a full bladder, which could cause some discomfort, although you can go to the bathroom immediately after finishing the study.
2. Ultrasound internal or transvaginal
An internal examination allows the doctor to have a closer perspective of some organs, such as the prostate, ovaries or uterus. During the procedure, you will be asked to lie on your back or your side, with your knees bent toward your chest.
Then, a small probe with a sterile cover, not much more extensive than a finger, will be gently inserted into the rectum or vagina to transmit the images to the monitor. Internal examinations can cause discomfort, but they are not usually painful and do not last long.
3. Endoscopic ultrasound
During an endoscopy, an endoscope is inserted into your body, usually through the mouth, to examine areas such as the stomach or esophagus.
Generally, you will be asked to reload sideways and slowly insert the endoscope until you get the desired image.
Usually, they will give you a sedative so you can relax better and local anesthesia for the throat. It is a very uncomfortable procedure, and it can make you feel nauseous, but the doctor in charge will make sure you are as comfortable as possible.
4. 2D, 3D, and 4D ultrasound
They are the most used in pregnancy processes because they offer images of the baby in all three dimensions simultaneously because the acoustic waves are sent at different angles. In the 3D dimension we obtain dynamic images while, in 4d ultrasound tests, the difference is that they incorporate the fourth dimension (time), resulting in images of the baby in motion. The diagnostic ultrasound used in pregnancies is generally a safe technique that does not cause risks for the baby since it does not produce ionizing radiation (such as that produced by X-rays).
Color Doppler test in pregnancy transforms the measurements provided by conventional Doppler in different colors that allow us to know the speed and direction of the bloodstream. In this sense, color Doppler also will enable us to differentiate thanks to its color-coded maps if, for example, a tumor is benign or malignant.