3D ultrasound uses a special ultrasound machine with high-speed computer processing to produce three-dimensional, life-like images. The test can be performed on any organ, but is most commonly used to look at fetuses and female pelvic organs.
In the fetus, this technique is useful for detecting cleft lip, spina bifida, and abnormalities of the hands and feet, among others. In the image to the left, the lips are normal and there is clearly no sign of a cleft lip.
3D ultrasound also helps with the diagnosis of developmental uterine abnormalities in adolescents and adults. An example of this is the bicornuate ("heart-shaped") uterus.
4D ultrasound adds the fourth dimension (time) to these three-dimensional images, resulting in life-like images that move. Although this technology is still in its developmental stages, it promises to be an exciting diagnostic tool. Additional information can be found on the National Geographic web site, which features a 2005 TV special they produced about this technology.
At Weinstein Imaging Associates, both 3D and 4D technologies are available and will be used whenever necessary. In accordance with the law and U.S. Food & Drug Administration regulations, we perform 3D and 4D imaging only as part of a diagnostic sonogram ordered by a physician. You might be interested to know that we were among the first in western Pennsylvania to offer these services, with 3D starting in June 2000 and 4D starting in October 2005. We are pleased to share copies of the best images that we obtain with our patients.
Here are some nice examples of what these incredible ultrasound machines can accomplish in the hands of our highly-trained staff. You should be aware that not all 3D ultrasound images will look as pretty as these. Image quality depends, in large part, on gestational age, fetal position and size, and amount of fluid around the fetus. You will notice that some of our machines produce images in shades of gray, while others tint the images with simulated flesh tones.
If you are a patient of ours and would be interested in having us post your baby's 3D picture side-by-side with an actual photo of your baby in a similar pose after birth, please contact us. Once we've accumulated enough for a gallery of photos, we'll post them on this website.
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