Transvaginal Ultrasound (TVUS)

Definition - What does Transvaginal Ultrasound (TVUS) mean?

Transvaginal ultrasound is a procedure where an ultrasound probe is inserted about two or three inches into the vagina (transvaginal means through the vagina) to thoroughly examine the female reproductive organs, including the uterus, tubes, ovaries, cervix and the pelvic area.

A transvaginal ultrasound utilizes sound waves to obtain images without any radiation involved. It allows for an optimal visualization of the female pelvic organs by providing higher quality images than would be obtained from an abdominal ultrasound scan. It is also risk-free when performed during pregnancy, until and unless your waters have broken (signifying rupture of the amniotic sac); a transvaginal scan, in this case, carries a small risk of introducing infection into the baby.

FertilitySmarts explains Transvaginal Ultrasound (TVUS)

A transvaginal ultrasound may be required for a number of reasons, including:

During pregnancy

  • To monitor the baby's heartbeat, movements, and growth
  • Examine the cervix for any changes that could result in a miscarriage or premature delivery
  • Evaluate the location of the placenta and placental abnormalities
  • Locate any source of abnormal bleeding
  • Detect an ectopic pregnancy (a condition in which the fetus implants outside the uterus, usually in the uterine tubes)

In a non-pregnant woman in cases of:

  • An unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • An abnormal pelvic exam
  • Unexplained pelvic pain or painful menses (called dysmenorrhea)
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Detecting cysts, uterine fibroids, or polyps
  • Confirming the accurate placement of an IUD
  • Evaluating and monitoring the treatment of infertility: If you are on fertility medications, the ultrasound scan can be used for monitoring endometrial development, ovarian follicle development, and ovulation. The doctor may also use transvaginal ultrasound to guide medical instruments during IVF procedures like egg retrieval
  • Excessive bleeding, pain, or signs of infection after pelvic surgery, delivery, or abortion
  • Screening for cancer in high-risk patients

During a transvaginal ultrasound, you will be asked to empty your bladder, and to undress from the waist down and wear a gown or a cover with a sheet provided to you. You're asked to lie down with the legs parted and bent at the knee joints. Your doctor or technician then covers up the ultrasound probe (or wand) and applies a lubricating gel over it, and finally inserts the probe inserted into your vagina. The probe is gently moved around to capture each and every end of your pelvis and the images are obtained in real-time.

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