What is 4D Ultrasound?
Unlike conventional ultrasound, which is two-dimensional (like a picture), 4D ultrasound takes a moving picture. In certain situations, it offers a number of benefits including better spatial guidance, better resolution, and noise reduction.
Spatial guidance. While ultrasound is used as a guide in invasive procedures, 4D ultrasound can improve the view of the relationship between geometric objects and bodily structures. This can, for example, help medical professionals better guide needles and probes to where they need to go.
Better resolution. Resolution refers to the 4D image offering better image quality than that of its 2D sibling. This allows doctors to make out finer details in cases where this is required.
Noise reduction. When it comes to imagery, noise is the unwanted visual distortion that can come up in certain situations. This can make it harder to view certain objects. Together with better resolution, noise reduction offers clearer and sharper ultrasound images.
Why get a 4D Ultrasound?
Your doctor may recommend 4D ultrasound in certain situations however, this being a newer technology, it might not be available at all clinics.
Soon-to-be parents may choose to undergo 4D ultrasound to get a better picture of their baby.
Keep in mind that certain medical groups do not recommend doing 4D ultrasound for fun as this may have adverse effects, more so if done in unprofessional settings.
When should you get a 4D Ultrasound?
4D scans are, for the most part, not considered to be a medical necessity. These type of scans, however, can be useful in a number of situations especially when used to aid interventions where an internal live feed view can help doctors and surgeons get a clearer picture of the procedure being undertaken.
4D Ultrasound procedure
4D ultrasound procedures work in the same way as 2D (standard) ultrasound procedures.
Like a standard ultrasound scan, a 4D ultrasound procedure uses a transducer that emits ultrasounds to get an internal picture. Unlike the 2D ultrasound, however, 4D ultrasound emits ultrasound waves from different angles, thus achieving a real-time 3D image. It is interesting to note that the 4th dimension is time and that is how 4D Ultrasounds produce a live feed.
The medical professional running the test will apply some gel to the area being scanned. This is done to avoid any air bubbles and thus be able to get a clearer picture. The ultrasound waves travel from the transducer to your body where they bounce back to the transducer. The data received is then interpreted by a computer to create a live feed.
Your doctor will also guide you as to whether you can eat or drink before your 4D scan or if there is anything else you need to be aware of.